Living with a a Bi polar teen: 18 and ready to leave
Bipolar disorder hit my daughter's life as well as mine and my families like the TITANIC almost a year ago. As you may know it was a nightmare of a year mentally, behaviorally emotionally, socially and academically for her. She is only 16 and now because of all of the "road blocks" we have had to put in place for her and tight boundaries because of her poor decision making she is "counting down the days" till she is 18 so she can "move out" --I have no place to put that in my life or my heart as a mother as I AM the person who is the most patient and understanding with her each and every day and normally she thanks me daily and tells me she can't do it without me. How can I better help her in the future as well as myself?
She does have a good psychiatrist, supportive family doctor, great psychologist at school who she speaks to weekly, great home life and loving family support all around.
Thank you for your time and help.
The truth is, it seems that you are in a pretty good position with your daughter as is she with all of that support in place.
1. All teenagers, whether they have bipolar disorder or not, go through this period where they want to leave the nest and rebel. What choice do you really have as a parent than to learn to accept this? You could argue, and struggle against this but the reality is she will need to learn what she is capable an incapable of on her own, like we all do. I would work on accepting that this is how it is, despite the fact that it will involve pain and likely some mistakes on her part as she learns how to be an adult with a mental illness.
2. I would talk with her therapist about how she can be a primary support during this transition. Many of my kids come back throughout early adulthood because they are more likely to share their struggles with a therapist than a parent . The therapist can serve as a surrogate parent during this time.
3. I would focus with your child on developing trust and allowing them to plan and make decisions without your interference or attempts to control. Often this strategy of providing complete support ( kind of a little sneaky) will result in them coming to you more for help and being more open to feedback than if you are arguing with them about what they are and are not capable of doing on their own.
I hope these tips have been helpful.
Good luck to you with your teenager!
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