How parents of kids with bipolar disorder can help their own emotions:
#1 Realize intense emotions are natural
It’s true that life changes with the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar hits the family. Life is now filled with doctor’s appointments, medication experimentation, stigma at school and in public, and time spent researching the best way to help your child. There is also worry, frustration, sorrow, guilt and anger. Realize that these recurring emotions are normal; however, it’s also true that you can have a positive influence if you can control your emotions and also help your child control his.
#2 Don’t throw fuel on the fire
While it’s one of the most challenging things to do, keeping calm when your child is unstable and in an agitated state, can help diffuse the situation. Remember your child’s behavior is due to the disorder and does not reflect personally on you. By detaching from the situation and viewing her behavior as something more clinic, it can help keep you from losing your cool too.
#3 De-escalate and time-out
Be aware of how to de-escalate the situation before it comes to a head. This means not allowing the insignificant issues to get blown out of proportion. Remember the end goal i.e. that you want to neutralize the heated emotions of both of you and your child. This may even mean giving yourself a time-out and telling your child you need a few minutes of alone time. Trying to reason with your child could actually make things worse.
#4 Visualize the strength
It’s obviously important for you to find the strength to deal with the challenges of everyday living. It’s also vital to be strong for your child so he can feel safe in knowing you are there for him and that everything’s going to be ok. Daily affirmations and meditations work, as do visualizations: seeing yourself as a strong structure unswaying in a hurricane.
#5 Soothing self-talk
When you’re in the heat of instability with your child, it’s common for your rational voice to hide and your emotions to take over. If it helps, remember to practice positive self-talk during the situation. It’s smart to have a number of positive reinforcements at the ready so you can easily grab and repeat in your head: “her brain is stuck,” “it’s not her, it’s the disease,” “I am staying strong and calm.”
#6 Give yourself a break
When you’re dealing with an unstable child for any length of time, your emotions become frayed and stress may feel like it’s getting the better of you. You are not a bad person if you have very negative feelings regarding your child because; it can be a normal reaction to a stressful situation. This could also be a signal that you are experiencing caregiver burnout and perhaps compassion fatigue. Seeking therapy yourself could be a good idea or, if you have a support system, take a day or weekend to yourself and get away and relax and recharge.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community