The Struggles With Bipolar in a Child #bipolar #parents #kids

My Aj being diagnosed with a mood disorder/bipolar at such a young age makes sense to me because I have witnessed him having a mood issue since the day he was born. My ex husband and I always said that Aj had one emotion, “anger”, that is how he has been all of his life. Each time we get a medication, things are decent for a little while and then bam, all of a sudden he is off kilter and it’s a fight to even get him to put his own boots on.

That is the stage I have been at with Aj for about 2-3 weeks now, they changed his medication to a higher dose and it didn’t really help. Aj started having issues sleeping and was starting to “see” things again. Thinking back to before he was put on the current medication of Risperidal {generic is risperidone}, he was starting to have hallucinations where he truly thought his eyes were bleeding. Aj would go into this fit of crying and concern, genuinely thinking that his eyes were bleeding. It was nerve wracking and extremely scary for us as parents to see our son in such a state of mind.

Now, here we are, me living alone with my kids and having to juggle the mood switches as if I were turning a light switch on and off. It’s no wonder I have been snappy, off kilter and not sure which way is up most days. I am living with a child who is constantly changing moods as if he is a light bulb. It’s not only frustrating and draining for me emotionally and physically but it is crappy for Aj too, he does not like being this way and since he is on a medication that has worked, even if the dose seems like it is not right, he is aware of his uncontrollable mood changes. I feel bad for him, his siblings and myself who has to deal with this 24/7. There is little sleep happening and I do get a break this coming weekend where he goes to his Dads house for two nights but still, it isn’t enough of a break.

Monday we head to his pediatric psychiatrist appointment and I really hope we can narrow down a dose or a different medication to help Aj not have the struggles anyone with bipolar has if not properly medicated. My chest is in pain each day because I can feel my blood pressure raising while I am trying to restrain Aj from hurting himself and others during his fits of rage. I am trying to also get some form of routine scheduling down in the household, because that helps to alleviate some of the battles.

This morning was awful. Aj was convinced his Dad told him today was the weekend and in turn Aj was convinced that we did not need to bring his sister to school but rather we needed to wait until 8:30am to head to his Dads house so he could go there for the weekend. No matter how many times I tried to convince him it was Friday, he was not having it and was rageful over it.  Finally I told Aj that I don’t care what day he thinks it is, but it is a day that Sissy needs to go to school, so I told him to stop arguing and just get his boots on because we are leaving to drop Sissy whether he agrees we should or not.

Finally I was able to get Aj to take his medication and get his shirt and boots on so we could drop his sister to school, I am not sure if she was late, it was that borderline timeframe where she could possibly be marked tardy, but we had no choice, I did all I could do. I am just one person trying to counteract wrong medication dosage in a six year old boy who has bipolar. If you have ever dealt with someone, child or adult, who is bipolar and on wrong medication or no medication then you can sympathize with what my family is dealing with {and my son} but if you have never walked this path with anyone, then please do not leave me comments acting as if I just can not parent my child. That is not the case. I am far from perfect, but my son has a mental health condition that involves a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Having a bipolar child means that you need to literally fight each day to ensure your child has a chance at a somewhat normal life with proper medication. It also means that you have to learn how to best parent a child who is bipolar so that you can have a healthy family life at home. It is a trying experience and the fact that my chest is starting to hurt daily over it is a bit concerning. I really pray that we get some answers on Monday because poor Aj should not have to live like this and neither should his siblings and me.

Bribing … Consider it a Reward For Good Behavior

I was texting with a friend the other day and bribing came into play during our topic of discussion. To me, I have never done bribing, I don’t think so. To me this means your child is learning that they are only “good” if they are getting something in return, however, when you are talking about a defiant or non-compliant child, bribing will come into play with a way to encourage good behavior. To me the word bribing isn’t the right word, to me rewarding is the correct term to use.

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Basically when you are dealing with a non-compliant child or extremely defiant child then they need to be rewarded for their good behavior. Our counselor has stated to offer AJ a reward, something special every time he handles a conflict without aggression. Honestly we haven’t given him anything really as far as an “item” goes, but when AJ handles a conflict without aggression, we praise him and hug him and love him right up so that he knows this is awesome. Usually that is followed by a high five, which AJ loves to jump up and give you a high five. This stimulates AJ in a positive way and he beams with pride!

When you have been dealing with a non-compliant child, especially one that seems extremely opposite of your other children, like AJ for example. AJ is completely different than his 8 year old sister, Ki, and his 2 year old brother, Baby K. Neither of my other two children have done the things that AJ has done during his life, but AJ has also been treated differently in some ways because he has always been an angry child, even as a baby. I don’t know what is going to come from all this counseling, I don’t know if my son will be diagnosed bi-polar but when all is said and done … I do believe that rewarding {not bribing} is a great concept for a child that has pretty much received negative attention for his behaviors, when this child starts to exhibit a good response to a situation that they normally would not respond positively to, then they deserve a reward!

All we can do as parents is be the best we know how to be and to the best we can to raise our child into a healthy, happy adult. Sometimes we may need guidance along the way and that is okay!

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