confused step-mom

by sarah
(auburn ny)

My 2and a half year old step daughter Madison isn’t sleeping through the night.

She wakes up a couple of times a night and she will be full of energy. The confusing part is that she will be so happy but when we try to put her back to sleep she will get this terrifying look on her face and it scares me like she is going to hurt someone. She is also afraid of the dark, and we have to leave the light on at night.
During the day she will be behaving great and then one little "no" will make her freak-out and give us that terrifying look. She was playing with her sister one afternoon and they were laughing and having fun when Madison bit her 14 year-old sister because she told Madison it’s not nice to jump on the couch. Madison stated throwing a temper tantrum and bit her in the stomach!. She has also bit her younger sister at the mother’s house and drew blood without even saying sorry. I’m very concerned by her behavior patterns and it’s scary that horrible look. Do you think she is bi-polar?

Hi Sarah
I do not know if your daughter is bipolar. It requires a fairly lengthy history, observation period, and an in person diagnostic assessment. However, I think it’s wonderful that you are paying attention to signs that something might be wrong. I don’t think it’s ever too early to begin to investigate if you believe that behaviors are indicative of something being wrong. It sounds as if the anxiety you are describing would be worthy of the advice and help of a play therapist. I would look one up in your area and get an appointment for your daughter.

Good luck


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