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Old 08-03-2005, 06:45 PM   #1
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BiPolar in Children

Hi everyone. I'm hoping some of you can give me some insight/guidance regarding my nearly 13 year old nephew.

A bit of background. He is also diabetic (diagnosed when he was only about 3-1/2). He always seemed to me to be somewhat depressed even when a toddler. I vividly remember babysitting for him when he was only about 2. He sat for hours, looking out the window. I couldn't engage him into doing anything you'd expect a 2 year old to be interested in (mind you, I'm great with kids, so this was very distressing to me).

Anyway as the years went by his behavior became very odd. At first, it was blamed on the diabetes but once he got into grade school and starting falling behind and having trouble fitting in, it became apparent something else was going on. Cut to chase - he was diagnosed as being bipolar probably when he was about 10ish. Rapid cycling as a matter of fact.

Obviously, he is very difficult but, I think a lot of his problems also have to do with his parents (my brother and SIL) who I think just don't "get it" about how to deal with him. Made worse that his 2 younger sisters are the angels inthe family and can do no wrong (while the rest of us actually have noticed the middle girl as being very much an antagonist towards him - she really has a way of instigating things ).

I digress. My brother told me today that his son recently told his first huge lie to them and his summer school teacher. He told his parents there was no summer school on Fridays and told his teacher his family goes away weekends in the summer. Please don't get me started why my brother's wife didn't call the school directly OR why the teacher, who knows he has "issues" didn't call to find out if his story was true!

I am so concerned about where this is all leading. Now that he's becoming a teenager, I can see the beginnings of bigger troubles to come. Made worse that my brother and his wife seem to have no clue what to do. They don't even take him for any counseling! My husband and I kid around that we'd like to offer to take him in, because we think we'd be much better equipped to handle hiim (we have no kids). And, get this, he himself has NO idea that they have been medicating him for years. He is being deluded into thinking that the apple sauce he gets every night has something to do with his diabetes, not his bipolar. They are afraid that if he knows the truth of his condition, that he won't take the medication so instead they are keeping him in the dark.

My whole family (I have 2 other sisters) are horrified by the way they are handling this. We think the child has every right to be informed about his condition and he should be having the responsibility of helping himself. Plus, I'm sure he thinks all his problems stem from the diabetes when in fact they don't.

Sad thing is, he looks so angelic. And he can be very sweet. Whenever we see him, he seems to be relatively well behaved, in fact, basically does things any 13 year old would do. But his parents always act like he's doing the worst possible things - and he isn't! Of course, we don't live with him and I'm sure it is just extremely difficult dealing with him on a daily basis.

I guess I'm just venting here. My husband and I don't know what to do. I have tried talking to my brother, who I'm very close with, but he's very stubborn and doesn't agree with me. As far as his wife is concerned, none of us have any real relationship with her - no reason to go into all that.

So, any feedback, comment, or help you can give would be appreciated.
Thanks.

 
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Old 08-04-2005, 03:11 PM   #2
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Re: BiPolar in Children

It's actually their call, Unless you see straight out abuse, I doubt they will take your advice directly. Have they ever pushed back when you inquired about him?

Most parents don't want to be told they are bad parents or are doing something wrong by someone who doesn't have kids. Its the how would you know until you had some yourself, reasoning.

As for medicating the boy without his knowledge, Well I don't think thats smart. When he finds out that everyone else knew but him, he will be blown down by the news and hurt. I wonder why they do this, is it because they fear that his sadness would grow if he found out that he had another short comming. I am sure what they do is out of love and fear, and not a urge to be mean.

Remember, you are his family too, he is only a child and has no say in what happens to him. Most parents do not want to bring their children to councilors because they fear the councilor will somehow deam them bad partents, or even worse remove the children from the home. Even the best of parents have this thought crawl into their mind.

Try to be understanding for the parents, and try to get through to them in a non threatning way. Remember they do love him, just unsure what to do.

 
Old 08-04-2005, 06:40 PM   #3
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Re: BiPolar in Children

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. You bring up some very good points.

I know they are trying their best but I really think that their best isn't good enough. My brother will egg my nephew on incredibly - brow-beating him and degrading him in front of family. He almost at times seems to be in compitition with his son. And the rational for not taking him for counseling isn't because they are afraid - it's because they don't want to spend the money having their son "just sit there" not participating. Mind you, their own relationship is awful and has been since they met - they themselves need some serious marriage help.

It isn't a case of them being loving concerned parents, it's two not very intelligent people who have the misfortune to have become parents to a child with special needs. they themselves are not mature enough to handle this, my SIL much less even than my brother. both have actually said that they hate their son, even tho they love him. They have threatened him at times to send him away to live elsewhere (schooling I assume) but of course, it is an idle threat since they don't have the money to do it.

I know there is not much I can do. I have offered them whatever help I can, even offering to pay for the child's therapy (and their marriage counseling if they like). My husband and I are comfortable financially and more than willing to be of assistance in order to make sure their son gets the help he needs. We know we are helpless and can only watch. It isn't only us who see's the situation this way - it is EVERYONE in the family.

Again, thank you for pointing out that there really isn't anything we can do other than to be as good and aunt and uncle to the child, and maybe to let him know that if he ever needs anything, he can come to us for help.

 
Old 08-04-2005, 07:20 PM   #4
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Re: BiPolar in Children

I am so sorry that your nephew's needs are not being met.

One of my niece's was having all sorts of problems. My parents offered to pay for her to go to Sylvan for testing and help when she was 7 yrs old. Her parents turned down the help.
It wasn't until her freshman year of school that they took her somewhere and she was diagnosed as ADHD with PTSD.

And yet, in the U.S. no one can be forced to get their child learning - or psychiatric - help. Chemo can be - but no one understands the lifelong ramifications of psychiatric problems that aren't caught as soon as possible.

I think this child is very lucky to have an aunt & uncle like you two - and I would continue to do what you have been doing... But do keep an ear to the ground on treatments, medications, therapies, advancements, etc in the meantime. And a pipeline open to not only your nephew but his parents so that when the time comes pride won't prevent them from realizing that you were right all along....


 
Old 08-04-2005, 07:28 PM   #5
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Re: BiPolar in Children

Ruth, thank you, thank you

 
Old 08-05-2005, 07:43 PM   #6
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Re: BiPolar in Children

hello, i think the best thing that could ever happen to your nephew is you telling him if he ever needed anything that he could come to you.. that is very gracious of you.I find it hard to believe that his parents belittle and brow beat him in front of other people, whats wrong with them? are the other kids normal? do they favor the others over the little boy? Sounds to me like he being abused, (not Physical beatings, but maybe molestings, and or the child isnt really your brothers maybe she had an affafir, and kept the child, the reason i say these things is because your story is exactly like my bestfreinds aunts situations to the tee, pardon my frankness but look into it if you can, it couldnt hurt and we all know that strance things can happen to people we think we know... take care kimberlee

 
Old 08-06-2005, 05:49 AM   #7
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Re: BiPolar in Children

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimber lee
hello, i think the best thing that could ever happen to your nephew is you telling him if he ever needed anything that he could come to you.. that is very gracious of you.I find it hard to believe that his parents belittle and brow beat him in front of other people, whats wrong with them? are the other kids normal? do they favor the others over the little boy? Sounds to me like he being abused, (not Physical beatings, but maybe molestings, and or the child isnt really your brothers maybe she had an affafir, and kept the child, the reason i say these things is because your story is exactly like my bestfreinds aunts situations to the tee, pardon my frankness but look into it if you can, it couldnt hurt and we all know that strance things can happen to people we think we know... take care kimberlee
Kimber, your frankness does not offend me at all :-)

I know for sure he is my brother's son - he looks exactly like my brother. I also know he isn't being sexually abused (and if he were, it isn't from his immediate family - there isn't even a history of it in the family). But there is emotional/verbal abuse for sure. I'll tell you, when he was an infant/toddler they adored him. It wasn't until the bi-polar started developing that their relationship started to sour.

Interestingly, all three kids had some motor skill delays. I find that strange. The other 2 kids are girls. The middle one, well that is a bad situation with the brother. I believe he's very jeolous of the positive attention she receives, with good reason They are always praising her, she's their "angel", who can do no wrong. However, we all notice her as being quite the instigator, and a liar too, who many times will tattle on her brother just to stir the pot so to speak. The youngest is a girl too, very quiet (almost too quiet, I think she's learned keeping low-key is better). She's very charming and cuddly. She also looks exactly like my brother (almost a replica of him at the same age). Anyway, none of them are what i would call "bright" children, and all seem to be missing some spark of life, like they are shell-shocked by their home life or something. And if any of them may have been, god forbid, molested, I suspect it to be the middle girl, who at nearly 8 somehow has a way about her that seems older than she is. I also think her mother is setting her up to be her "best friend", as opposed to her daugher. She's actually taking her to see Meatloaf, which I think is inappropriate considering he is most famous for the song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", about humping in the backseat of a car and no less, reinacted on stage! But I digress again.

So, I believe that all their frustrations are piled soley on their son and all their praise is reserved for the girls. My brother and his wife just melt when they talk about the girls, but all you hear is anxiety in their voices when they talk about the boy.

Very unfortunate circumstances...

 
Old 08-07-2005, 05:22 AM   #8
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Re: BiPolar in Children

You know what i would do, i have done this before, ... i would video tape a get togethger with out them knowing it, then let them see how they are acting. you dont have to tell them that you did it on the sly, just tell them that you set it up and you wanted to see if anyone noticed they were being taped , they of course will say no, then being excited to watch the family get together you cou ld pop it in the vcr and all could watch, hopefully they will catch what they are doing. hmmm idunno , give it a try if your brave renough, it takes some guts i know i was scared to do it but i did and the persons that i wanted to see it saw the horrible thing she was doing, well good luck kimber ;lee

 
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