Daughter (12) and Spouse are Bipolar
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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