In a typical world, it’s difficult enough for parents to agree on how to raise their children. Add to this the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in one of their children and the stakes change overnight. Here are six things to keep in mind when parenting:
#1 On different pages
Aside from simply disagreeing on how to raise a child with bipolar disorder, there could be other challenging scenarios: one parent learns about the disorder and tries to parent accordingly, while the other parent may deny there is even a problem, or he or she “checks out” mentally and offers little support, overwhelming the other parent. Or, both parents could be too stressed, emotional and overwhelmed to properly deal with the situation.
#2 The importance of teamwork
The child with bipolar will likely be highly sensitive to emotional and environmental stress in the household already and disagreements with his parents can produce extreme anxiety, increasing the chance of triggering a manic or depressive episode. It’s important to try and come together and understand the needs of your child so you can parent together.
#3 Agree on parenting goals
While it may take a bit of time to arrive at a plan, seeing eye to eye is extremely important and will help pave the way for rocky roads ahead. This includes what the parameters around discipline should be, types of treatment and what happens if your child should become unstable or even violent. It starts with agreeing on the same parenting goals and working from there.
#4 Attend appointments together
Whenever possible, go to medical and psychiatric appointments together. Not only does this unite you as a team, it also provides two minds thinking of questions to ask the doctor and gain more information. Plus, it’s an extra set of ears to pick up anything missed by one person.
#5 Join a support group
Attending a local support group together provides an opportunity for both parents to talk to other parents of children with bipolar disorder. This offers the chance to discuss successes and failures and discover what techniques have worked.
#6 Privacy, please
Do not argue, yell or fight in front of the children; instead, handle all disagreements in private. The stress created by yelling at each other in the presence of your child with bipolar is enough to trigger an episode and change the course of his or her improvement. Also, it’s good to make a habit of having all serious discussions in private as well.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community