If you're the parent of a child with Bipolar Disorder, chances are you've gotten quite an education since you first heard that diagnosis. What would you say today to parents who are just getting the news? Tell them about that book that explained everything, that website full of resources, that e-mail group you still lean on, that experience with your child that made you see things differently. Those of us who have been there have important gifts to give those who have not yet done that. Offer your words of wisdom and experience here. Tell Your Tips
The Bipolar Child
- Discovery Health recently had an hour or two hour program of case histories of 4 families w/bipolar disorder. One Grandmother was taking care of her daughter's 4 bi-polar children. Another was a 4 yr. old girl with extreme rages. The children would say as they grew older, "I'm so sorry when I'm acting out", but I can't stop." I just want to be normal, not a nerd, or a "freak" with a mental disorder; I just want to have a friend..I didn't have any friends in primary school, and I don't have any friends in middle school. Don't know if there is a way to get a copy of this program. It was very eye-opening. Also had an hour long program on early onset childhood schizophrenia, following child from birth(mom noted eye contact not normal) and then at 6 months of age, there is video of child following imaginary figures with her eyes. Family had to take 2 one bedrm. apts., so parents could alternate sleeping with older child so she wouldn't hurt new brother.
- —Guest Cecilia
Repeat after me.........
- My son is now 18, but was diagnosed at age 8. He is substantially stabilized, but we still struggle at times. Here's my advice: as a parent of a newly diagnosed child, you will feel a mixture of relief (it's not my parenting skills), guilt (did I or my spouse pass this on??) and fear (what does this mean for my child's future?). First, congratulate yourself on getting help for your child. Second, rely on your gut instincts. If the symptoms don't seem under control, tell your doctor. Be diligent with the meds, but also chart what triggers the rages, insomnia, violence and work to eliminate any environmental causes. Tell your child daily or more often that you love him or her, but you hate the bipolar when it is in control and that the two of you will get through this, along with the doctors. Remember, this is not your child's fault, it is a chemical imbalance. When you are at the end of your rope, repeat after me. "It is much harder to be "Johnny" than to deal with "Johnny".
- —Guest Andrea