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Tips for Parents Raising Bipolar Children

It can be physically and emotionally tiring raising a child with bipolar disorder. Here are some tips for parenting your bipolar child.

Parenting Tips:

  • Make videos of your child's rages and/or psychotic symptoms to show mental health professionals when trying to get a diagnosis. Family members that see the rages might be more likely to believe you also.
  • Join a local or online support group. It helps tremendously to speak to other parents dealing with the same issues.
  • When you notice your child is hyper or possibly getting manic, try to isolate them from strong sources of stimulation. Closing the curtains, turning off the television, and speaking quietly all help my son calm down.
  • Document everything! Tapes, medical records, letters from psychiatrists and doctors, old behavior charts, tests, and school evaluations can come in handy. Keep copies to show the police, the school, and the hospital if needed.
  • Watch your child's sleep closely. Too much sleep can signal depression, and too little sleep can even CAUSE mania. Regulating sleep can be very helpful as a treatment too.
  • Get an IEP and demand the school follows it. Do not ever forget that an IEP is there to help your child. Legally the school is required to follow it exactly. You are in control, not the teachers.
  • Do not neglect yourself or your other children. Parenting a bipolar child can be isolating and stressful. You need to remember to take time off in any way you can.
  • Exercise can be an easy and healthy way to burn off manic energy or focus rage. When your child starts showing signs of rage or mania, take her jogging or bike riding.
  • If you are having trouble finding a psychiatrist that treats childhood bipolar, try a university or research hospital. Even if no one there can help your child, they almost always have the name of someone who can.
  • Try to get your child into therapy. Medications help, but therapy teaches your child how to recognize warning signs of the illness and cope with their emotions.
  • If you can't find anyone willing to sit with your child while you go out, find another bp parent and alternate nights out.
  • Read everything you can about bipolar, and pass that information on to as many people as possible. Ignorance is our worst enemy.
  • Be an advocate for your child at school. Insist your child has all the resources needed to get the best education possible. Educate the teachers and the faculty about your child's needs, and also make certain to point out your child's abilities as well as disabilities.
  • Give your child certain chores according to their abilities so that they can be a helpful part of the family and be sure to thank them for their work. Family and child seeing what was accomplished is very important.
  • Watch for low self-esteem issues. One parent reports her daughter was so lovely and outgoing and had so many friends that she had no idea that her daughter's self-esteem was so low, causing her great pain and hurt.

See Also:

Parenting Tips for When Your Tween Has a Meltdown

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, December 8). Tips for Parents Raising Bipolar Children, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/bipolar-children/tips-for-parents-raising-bipolar-children

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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