Bipolar In Children and Anger Issues

I hate Monday’s and no it’s not because I’m like Garfield. It’s because Monday’s for us consist of turmoil, raging, tantrums, yelling, emotional boundaries being broken or hidden and having to sit and watch while our son struggles leaving us feeling utterly helpless.

Trace has always had trouble with Monday’s. Transitioning from the weekend has never been easy for him. He has a hard time sleeping Sunday nights and so when Monday comes his emotional level is at all time high. And it always begins with a complaint about something.

I hate being late and don’t want to go because I’m going to miss gym. The kids make fun of me. I’m upset I’m still on the lunch program. I don’t like school because I fall asleep at my desk. You guys don’t care about me.

 

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It’s so utterly difficult trying to reach a child who has bipolar disorder, anger issues, sensory disorder and just plain stubborn. I feel empty and at a loss as a mother at times, as I’m sure many others whose children have these issues do. As a mother, it’s extremely difficult at times to know whether our son is just being normal and angry, since kids get angry from time to time. Or whether it’s his bipolar disorder that needs dealing with. 

Here are the Facts:

  • Kids with bipolar disorder can have severe anger issues.
  • Regular disciplinary actions don’t work ie: time-outs and grounding.
  • Bipolar children don’t yet have the skills and emotional maturity to handle their anger outbursts.
  • Anger in bipolar children can appear as extreme temper tantrums involving verbal and physical aggression.
  • It’s common for bipolar children to become extremely upset when they are disciplined or told β€œno.”

We know that medication is an alternative for treating children with bipolar disorder. We as parents have decided not to do this with Trace. He is still growing. His brain is still growing and until he reaches puberty and hormones that are not currently present engage. We are using alternative measures, such as:

We are using alternative measures, such as:

  • Open communication
  • Teaching emotional boundaries (zones for anger) ie: red angry, blue happy, yellow indifferent.
  • Journaling to keep a record of outbursts, tantrum, triggers, and outcomes.
  • Journaling for Trace to draw pictures and stories of how he felt during an outburst.
  • Cut back on raw sugars, pop, juices, higher doses of nutritional diet.
  • Reinforcing positive behavior, consequences for negative behavior.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. It’s a difficult mental illness to cope with. I have bipolar disorder, so watching my son struggle tears my heart out but I am his only advocate. I am the only voice he has to help him get the advice and counseling he needs through the stages in his life to help him learn how to cope.

Here are 10 tips on helping you cope with your child who has bipolar disorder. 

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