Bipolar Child and Parents Survive First Week Of School
The first full week of school is behind us.
(Insert sigh of relief.)
And even though problems surfaced, we survived.
I think we’ve gotten lucky with Bob’s teacher—so far, she has proven excellent at maintaining an open line of communication. She even seems to have a sense of Bob already, knowing when to push and when to hold back. (Watch video: Thoughts on First Day of School)
That said, the week was not without considerable stress. Obviously for Bob, a child with bipolar disorder — new teacher, new classmates, new routine, and the “loss” of all his knowledge gained last year is stressful. (“That’s why I hate summer,” he lamented during his first math homework assignment, “I forgot everything I learned already!”)
It was also stressful for the rest of the family. Keeping it together all day meant Bob was ready to explode come evening, which created some tension in the house. And, of course, I spent workdays wondering what was going on and worrying over the possibilities.
My fears came to a head Wednesday night, when I picked Bob up from a visit with his father. “I had kind of a rough day,” he said, handing me an incident report which cited him for fighting in the hall.
Fighting? On the third day? Couldn’t he have even made it a week?
School + Child with Mental Illnesss = Super Stressed Parents
My heart nearly stopped. Was this merely first-week adjustment issues, or were we back to Square One with his bipolar medication regimen? My mind raced back to that spring two years ago, when the phone calls from school were nearly constant and I very nearly lost my job for having to constantly run interference. (Questions and Anxiety Accompany the New School Year) I’m not ready to go through that again, I thought. Please, not now.
I let him know I was thoroughly displeased (to put it mildly) and consequences would follow. I also told him the rest of the week had better be golden, and his behavior the following day would determine the severity of his punishment.
Thursday, an email from his teacher set me somewhat at ease. There had been a fight, but it had been the only real trouble the whole day. He had pulled it together rather quickly and willingly accepted his consequences at school. Friday was an "excellent" day. The weekend, however, has left me worrying, as he seems to be teetering on the edge of mania--he's terrified to go into any room of our house alone, the bedwetting has picked up speed, the silliness is increasing. I'm not sure whether to call the psychiatrist or watch and wait. (Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children)
For now, I’m holding my breath. We’re sort of always waiting for the other shoe to drop--for the day when that long-sought saving grace stops working. It’s a terrifying prospect.
I'm trying to breathe. To remember yes, the day will come for reevaluation, but a few rough days is sometimes just that—a few rough days, nothing more. To hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
McClanahan, A. (2010, August 24). Bipolar Child and Parents Survive First Week Of School, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2010/08/problems-surface-during-first-week-of-school
Author: Angela McClanahan
I feel your pain. My daughter has Bipolar and hears voices that prompt much of her bad behavior. I got calls so much between Kindergarten and 2nd grade, oved 3 times and lost 3 great jbobs (financially anyway). As a single mom it has taken its tol o my younger son, their dog and I can't tell you how so many neighbors and friends have left us hanging. We don't have family around at all, most have passed or won't speak to us. Sadly my girl gets i trouble with the law and other kids in school will tell her to do more dangerous things for their affection and friendship and she does them. It feels impossible. Then a couple times a week she stops acting out and hugs me and we bond then its gone for a few days or weeks. People seem to think I am a bad mom and have said so to the point of investigations and jail. My child hasd a brain injury and the result is her symptoms now for 5 years. It has taken its toll. I would only advise watch you child with other kids and adults that will surly take advantage. I never thought it was possible for parents of school kids to attack my then 7 year old but they did even threatening her physically due to not wanting to understand. One parent suggested all children with these types of illness should be dead and his daughter was too perfect for our family. He lives across the street. I homeschool and cannot work but dedicate my time to my child learning how to care for themselves and their medication issues. I wish you so much love and hope and peace!