How to Discipline the Bipolar Child

Children with Bipolar Disorder can live just like you and I, when given therapy at a young age on.

Any parent who us raising a Bipolar child, knows that it can be a very difficult task. Understanding this disorder can be hard in itself, with the constant mood swings and other aspects that come along with being a Bipolar child.

In order to keep the child well behaved, a parent must have very strict order for their child or they can become uncontrollable to the point that one can no longer tolerate the behavior. Growing up with a brother who suffered from Bipolar Disorder, I know it can be equally hard for the parents, the child and the family as well. It’s a hard disease to understand, especially at a young age.

If your child has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder you are well aware that this occurs because of disturbances in the area of the brain that regulate mood. The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are as follows when they are having a ; Decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, unusual talkativeness, increased activity, easily distracted, reckless spending, abnormal or excessive sexual behavior, inflated self esteem and no worry about the consequences of their actions. When a person is having a depressive episode, they may feel extremely depressed and suicidal, have loss of self esteem, withdraw from friends, eating disturbances as well as sleep disturbances. The symptoms vary from person to person, but are somewhat similar as well.

Disciplining a Bipolar Child can be a hard task. When you are dealing with someone with a mood disorder, it’s hard to guess what their next mood will be like or how they will react to certain situations. After your child has first been diagnosed with the disorder, it is important that you see a doctor and the child is put on a mood elevator in order to better regulate their mood. Their are many different medications and treatment plans, so it’s best that you and you’re doctor figure out which one will work best for your child.

A parent who is dealing with a Bipolar child must have a warrior type attitude and be willing to face problems head on, no matter how difficult they may become. The child is going to experience different episodes, including isolation from the parent, so it is important that the parent has a hardness to them as well as a can do attitude. They parent must understand the child disorder completely and be filled with love and understanding. Although you have to love your child, this doesn’t mean you can let them get out of control.

Parents must insist that the child attend therapy regularly, in order to keep the child’s mental health in check. This is important for the child and even though it may be hard at times, the parent must enforce that the child attends every meeting!

The parents of the child must have a plan ready to take action should different episodes occur. They must figure out a battle plan for each different episode the child may face, whether it be manic or depressive. When the parent figures out this plan, they must follow through each time an episode occurs in order for it to be effective. For instance if your child is isolating themselves from friends, although it may be hard, it is important that they parent make sure the child go out with their friends and be social. This type of therapy can (with time) cause the episodes to become less intense.

It is important that a parent always recognize when a child is having positive behavior, and that they insure the child knows that they are proud. When the child is acting in a positive manner, have a system of rewarding the child and they will begin to associate positive behavior with positive responses, which is important for your child to grow out of the disorder, which is possible.

Be sure you’re child knows that they are understood and respected within the family. Although, it may be overbearing at times, a child will have more depressive episodes without the support. When the child is acting out, use discipline to scold them a little however, be sure they know it’s because of what their going through and your just helping them to get better.

There are many outpatient programs, where the therapist will come to the home and do therapy with the family. This is a good option because they will devise a plan for you and your child. If the child can trust the therapist (be sure to get someone they like first and foremost), they will want to stick to the plan that you have all come up with in order to please their therapist. You can have them visit anywhere from 3 times a week to every other week, depending on your needs.

There are many books on positive behavior management for your child. These have been very useful for my brother and many others as well. The books give you a good look at the different behaviors and why it is important to react a certain way to each of them. Reading as much literature as possible will allow you to fully understand what’s going on for your child.

When a child with Bipolar Disorder has an episode of rage, they usually won’t remember it afterwords because of the fact that they were simply having an episode. It is important that you don’t scold the child later for something that they don’t remember. Depending on the act of your child, you can tape them to show them how they acted during the episode, afterward. This may help in forming a plan that you can put into action when the child has another one of these outbursts.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms your child has, there are many intensive care programs. What this program will do is take your child for a while (you can visit of course) and they will put them in constant therapy treatment until their disorder is more in control. They will find out which medications and therapy works best for the child and when the child is more in control, they will be sent home to you. I would recommend this as a last option, unless the symptoms are severe.

Remember your not disciplining your child, you are disciplining to help your child. Best of luck parents and bless you.