Daughter (12) and Spouse are Bipolar

by Sacrunr
(Sacramento, CA)


I have been practicing the suggested RAINBOW techniques. Very helpful. What would you suggest when the mother is also Bipolar and trying to deal with both of them at the same time. They seem to often trigger each other.



For those of you who don’t know, RAINBOW stands for Routine, Affect Regulation, “I can do it”, No negative and live in the Now, Be a good friend and Balanced lifestyle for parents, “Oh how can we solve this”, and ways to get support? They are really just ways to think of the most important factors in parenting bipolar children. These same techniques are helpful with adults who have bipolar!

This is an excellent question. I really think an acknowledgment and an awareness of the illness and how it impacts the family among everyone would be useful.

Good therapy for your wife, with a focus on how to monitor her stress level recognize her moods and how her mood effect her ability to parent may be helpful.

The rainbow techniques are helpful with adults as well, and practicing them with your wife in the context of parenting your child is a great idea.

I think the awareness and acknowledgment is important because more often than not, I see mothers or fathers who will faithfully learn how to recognize their child's mood states, and how to manage their child's mood states. They will come to therapy to help their children every week.

However when it comes to themselves, there is a lack of awareness of their needs and at times almost a denial. I see the rest of the family partake in that. It takes a long time for me to help the family realize they have to take care of themselves, understand themselves and commit to monitoring and managing their own stress level.

Many times I think parents just don't recognize that they have to care for themselves if they can care for their child. They think its selfish, or can't see the long term benefit. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary and certainly in the child's interest to make that same level of commitment to your wife, or to yourself!

Thanks so much for your question, and good luck to your family!

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Dec 01, 2012
I feel your pain
by: Dan Martin

I completely understand and feel your pain, my daughter is very similar. Advanced language skills,loves writing, gore, and very intelligent. Our house too is a war zone with the main difference being that my wife is Bipolar too and my daughter 14. Getting her to the dr is the right thing to do and medication is the first step in a long journey. I would also suggest your husband become more aware of mental illness. Beating her (and many times he and you are probably justified in feeling like it!!) won't help anything. With a bipolar child you need huge amounts of patience. You found this page do your in the right place. Good luck and god bless!

Jan 29, 2011
suspected 12 yr old daughter is bipolar
by: Anonymous

After much research and observation, I feel my 12 yr old daughter is bipolar. She gets angry with every no that I say. She is verbally abusive, and blurts out inappropritate things. She is full of anger toward her brothers and the rest of her family. She speaks so quickly I can hardly understand her. She is gifted in Lang. Arts, and is an outstanding writer. She is obsessed with gore, and laughs at people getting hurt. She has friends, and is a beautiful dancer and cheerleader. At school she is a model student, but now is not completing her work and getting F's because of not doing homework. She is very forgetfull, cannot focus and is always distracted. If her cheerleading squad does not get 1st place at competitions she throws a fit, verbally abusing her team and me. She doesn't care who hears her. She refuses to take a shower( once went a week) and will not wear a coat in the winter. She has an appointment with a psychiatrist soon. I filled out a questionare about bipolar symptoms, and she fits almost every one. She has severe anxiety, mild OCD, and her counselor feels she may have high functioning Aspergers. My daughter has had issues since she was in kindergarten. She did not like to be held as a child, was very intelligent at a young age, and certain noises and sensations drive her crazy. Our household is a war zone. Her father yells because he doesn't know how to handle her. I try to reason with her but she gets verbally abusive. We are in need of help. I plan to get counseling for all of us, but my husband is going to be difficult. He thinks the only way to discipline is to beat the crap out of her.(He hasn't done this yet.) We are frustrated and confused. Any advice would be great.

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