Scowling 3 yr old

by Annie

My kid is typically happy and well, he lives on the dangerous side. He is very active which I am assuming is normal for most toddlers. However, he's also very destructive! We're talking smashing things like apples against table legs and chairs, banging everything, breaking glass figurines, toys, containers... need I say more. He's always been like this.

However, now I'm seeing something new and it's a scowl. I saw it about 2 weeks ago and asked him if he was mad. He told me no so I decided to see if he knew what facial expressions go to what feeling. He got them all right. Yet, a few minutes he was scowling again and I asked him if it was a mad or angry face and he told me "no, it's a bad face"? What in the world is going on here? He'll be sitting and watching a T.V. show that he likes and he'll start scowling and he'll do it through the whole movie. I'll ask him if he wants it changed or if he'd like to do something else or if he's mad and things of that nature but he tells me no yet he sits there and scowls for 5-10 minutes and it seems just to get more frequent.

I do have bipolar 2 disorder and when we began seeing his life on the edge (no fear) type behavior and CPS came out and WIC was concerned then we knew it wasn't just in our heads. Now we're supposed to go into Children's Hospital and have our 3rd visit which is when we get a diagnosis and now he's doing this! I have already filled

out questionnaires but when I did I didn't see this behavior and now it's just showing up. We've done nothing different so this is just very odd and it concerns both my husband and I. Could we be looking at bipolar in a toddler and what can be done to help a toddler with bipolar if that is what it is?

Certainly risky behavior may be a symptom of mania, but also some children just have a risk taking temperament! I also have certainly seen this destructive behavior as well in bipolar toddlers. Obviously the two symptoms you mentioned could not be used to make such a serious diagnosis as bipolar disorder in a toddler. The diagnosis requires a long extensive history and many factors need to be considered. It also may take several years to solidify that diagnosis in a toddler.

It is extremely important for you to pay attention to the issues you are because of the genetic history. I would suggest you keep track of your concerns in a notebook of some sort.

Please be careful and skeptical of what the professionals tell you. If you have bipolar and suspect that your child may be suffering from it, ask them to consider that when making the diagnosis. If they suggest your child has adhd and want to put him on antidepressants or stimulants, question them on this choice and educate them about what you know.
Make sure you feel comfortable that the people who are helping you know what they are doing.

If your child is bipolar, the first line of treatment is medication. Therapy for both you and your child would also be recommended.

Good luck!

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