what to do with a bi polar 17yrold that won't listen?

Diane - posted on 10/17/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My son is 17 and is bi polar he will not take no for an answer and if he doesnt get his way he hits things or throws them. and cusses at us. We tell him over and over what not to do and what needs to be done and we might as well talk to a wall. And then there are times he is awesome so I get the mixed feelings about it cause he is my son his step dad loves him and he is at his whits end and this causes us to argue other than that we get along great but Im curious for some insight and if anyone else has these problems and if any suggestions? Thank you

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Rochelle - posted on 10/22/2009

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Diane--Have you heard of NAMI? It is the Nat'l Alliance for the Mentally Ill. They offer free Family-to-Family classes all over the nation. Just use your search engine and find the one closest to you. It sounds as if your son needs to be on some medication. It will help to know other parents with similar situations. God bless you!

Gail - posted on 10/20/2009

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If you are in Mi. you can contact common Ground. They have great programs through Easter Seals and I cannot begin to tell you how they have helped me. I'm not sure what services they have for adults,(over 18), but they are incredible! When you contact them don't hold back any info about your child, even if you are embarrassed...They have counselors that will even come to your home if your child won't go there, and very cheap! If you have to pay at all. Good luck! P.S. you can also contact support group for parents with children that are mentally ill.

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Kris - posted on 04/01/2011

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I agree get a psychiatrist and a therepist also a group with other teens with anger issues is helpful even an anger mnagment class. If worse comes to worse seek out a diversion officer at your police dept. who is willing to speak with him about his hitting and throwing things.....he is very close to 18 and violence and vandalism is looked at very differantly at that magical age. sometimes the kids need to hear from other adults in authority roles that they are way out of line with their behavior and bipolar is not an acceptable excuse for being abusive to others. you love your child and you have to love your self also and not let yourself be treated that way. i have been thee believe me it is not easy.

Ann - posted on 11/16/2009

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do mood mapping. Helps bi-polar afflicted kids. My DIL is bi-polar and she had a baby with no psych drugs. Basically it's like a diet journal for life of bi-polars.

Annie Sires
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Leigh - posted on 11/14/2009

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I feel for you - my 16 year old daughter went suicidal at 10 - has been mis diagnosed and on meds since she was 7 and is still not stable - even after spending time in a psychiatric ward - then being transfered to residential treatment from there for 3 months. She has her good days, and bad days - it all seems to be a roll of the dice between the psychiatrists, counselors and PCP. Often times we feel hopeless - so to all that read this - please remember to try and bring attention to the postitive traits of your child - no matter how miniscule you may feel it is - even if it is something as simple as telling them how nice they look that day or telling them good job on your homework - any positive reinforcement helps. I myself have made mistakes and spoken negatively to my girl out of pure frustration - what it got me was manic behavior - so I have to think before I speak - I keep the peace the best I can - even if it means giving in some of the time - I choose my battles as wisely as I can. Take care Diane - I hope something I said here will help you with your son for my family and I have dealt with the violent, vulgar , destructive, physical violence, verbal and mental abuse. It stinks but always remember, everything happens for a reason and God does not give us more than we can handle. God Bless.

Trina - posted on 11/11/2009

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my daughter was diagnosed at an early age of 12. therapy does help along with the mixture of meds. it took awhile to get the right combo and also the right doctor. it gets better. i had my struggles from putting her in a hospital to jail i know your frustration. she grew up and also the meds definetly help

Al - posted on 11/04/2009

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Hi,
I was diagnosed with bi-polar when I was 13 and it was revised to bi-polar type II in my late 20's. It wasn't until I was 33 that I was correctly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) that I finally got the help I needed. The symptoms are very similar - the depression, acting out, over reaction to simple things. But the fine line difference is the self mutilation and the over reaction to everything. People with BPD harm themselves in an attempt to relieve the pain and self hatred they feel. There are suicide attempts, but more often, "just" mutilation - cutting, burning, etc. The over reacting can be to anything - positive or negative, small or big. A good grade can cause a manic-like episode. A harmful comment can cause a violent rage. A person with BPD can't regulate his or her emotions.
I offer this information to make others aware of this diagnosis. I suffered for years because I was mis-diagnosed. Because the therapy is VERY different from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, I became very frustrated and disillusioned that I would never get any better. One of the therapies for BPD is Dialectic Behavior Therapy. It has been incredibly successful for me and others I know.
Also important is the correct use of medications. Just like with bi-polar disorder, it is a messy trial and error process that usually takes a long time. (That part sucks.)
Good luck to all of you dealing with emotional teens!
~Al

Katherine - posted on 11/04/2009

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Diane, your posting helped me so much at a time when my just newly 18 year old daughter was struggling with manic behavior very similar to the behavior you explained concerning your son. I was told by one women that her bipolor child may not be doing what the other children her age were doing (such as graduation, prom, leaving for college) and she had to to let herself mourn that, and eventually her daughter did move up to those experiences so for myself to be patient. No one has an idea of what we go through which makes it so much more difficult. You are doing a great job doing the best you can.

Jennifer - posted on 11/02/2009

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I am 37yrs old & have bi-polar. I was not diagnosed until I was 21. I have 2 teenagers..a son 16 & a daughter 14. Bi-polar is more serious than alot of people realize. I take my meds like I am suppposed to, but the mood swings will still come. The meds are to help balance u, but don't totally stop all the symptons. I still throw things, go on cussing sprees, & get agitated over little things. I am very lucky that my husband & children understand me. They have went to psychs with me, visited me in the hospital, & know how to calm me down & give me the space I need & when to help pull me up. My mother surprised me & took the NAMI classes 4yrs. ago & we have a whole new relationship. I do want to let u know that there are times when ur son honestly will not know what he is saying, doing, or how he is acting or reacting. This is one of the worst parts of being bi-polar. There are lots of times u just feel so helpless. But, I commended u as parents for getting the medical care ur son needs now & being so supportive. It will make a world of difference. But, like my family knows when I go there...it's not me...it's the disease. And the more patient my family is with me during an episode we have realized the quicker it passes(usually). Good luck to u.

Diane - posted on 11/01/2009

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Thank you all for all the great advice and guidance with dealing with bi-polar, We are currently on a good week so far and just getting him to take his medicine like he is supposed to, is our challenge to. So far he has been this past week doing so big difference and we tell him so. We also deal with the can't take NO for an answer to and drives ya to know end until you just lash out he is persistant until we give in or explode but we have been doing well on that not giving in and yes he hates it but he eventually gets over it. i love my son very much that's why I try as I do not to give up on him and will continue to do it and guide him to be a Man that he can be proud of and as being mom that I am proud of. I think with time and patience we can get this on track. Again Thank you and it's nice to know there are still caring and understanding people out there.

Katherine - posted on 10/25/2009

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I have a 17 year old daughter that is bi polor. We have dealt with so much. In the past her illness came out more in the form of depression, which even included a suicide attempt. She has been hospitalized twice. As of the last year though, her illness has been more on the manic side. She is on great medication with an excellent psychiatrist, but we suffer on the therepy side with high turnover rate. She moved out six months ago with friends and that has become completely exhausting for my husband and I as she calls us at least 20 times a day, does not remember to take her medication so we have to bring it to her twice daily. She can't keep a job so is constantly asking for money, asking for rides, asking to buy her food. If we refuse to teach her independence she becomes demanding, bullies us, will contact family members and friends for money and has become a constant liar. If she has decided something in her head, her hyperfocus steps in and hell or high water will not stop her until she gets what she wants. Not having her in the house is hard because I can not watch her sleep pattern or make sure she eats. I can't tell you how comforting it is to see all of you brave moms and your posts.

Tammy - posted on 10/24/2009

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My son is also 18. He is bipolar and has his bad days too. Medication helped to stablize his moods and he is now off the meds. Still has his bad days but they are managable. He has started taking omega 3 fish capsules. He attends counseling once a month and has Phsyc visits every 3 months, if he thinks he needs them. He knows that if I am afraid for his safety, I can and will have him admitted to the hospital. Like your son, if he is having a bad day, no one is happy, but my son will hide away and keep it all inside. Either way, you need to be on top of his moods and pay close attention to how he is feeling, everyday. Maybe start a daily log of his days. What mood he is in when he gets up, what time he got up, his diet, sleep habits, if he is irritable even when he is in a good mood and his reaction to things around him. My son is sometimes over sensitive to what people say-he says that they are judging him. Some people even experience paranoia to a degree. Don't think he is going off the deep end, he just needs your support and counseling is one of the best things for him. If you can call a mental health facilaty near you, they can give you information on his condition and recommend bi polar groups so that he doesn't feel so alone.

Jana - posted on 10/22/2009

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it is easy for someone with bipolar to fly off the handle, and hard for others to understand. we dont live in their heads so how can we? Get him to talk. DO NOT forget that as a parent your job is to set limits that keep him and others safe from physical, and emotional harm. you have to be firm with the temper issue. as long as he is taking the meds that he should be taking for a bipolar person, then the temper issue is a learning issue. set your limits, do not allow him to be destructive or violent.

Terry - posted on 10/22/2009

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Diane,

First of all do not feel by yourself, I am the step-parent of a now 20yr old daughter that has sever bi-polar and the only option that we had was the tough love approach. We ended up kicking our daughter out of the house and not allowing her to come home. We did not help her in any form except for advice when she called. we told her that since she was not able to follow our rules that the home that she would not respect would not be opened to her. She did leave and she did wind up getting pregnant with a great little boy that we have since adopted but she is still on her own and has figured out that mom is great to vent to but is really quick to tell her that sympathy is found in the dictionary between S**t and tantrum. I know that this sounds really harsh but it has seemed to work. Let me know what you think.. And Good Luck and may God Bless you and your family

Jennifer - posted on 10/20/2009

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My 14 yr old son is also bipolar and has major issues with handling disappointments if he does not get his way. Including swearing, hitting, punching, and other highly destructive behavior. To stop the physical abuse (he would hit me as well as personal property) - I finally had to call the police. After doing that he has finally learned to control his physical agressiveness, mostly. I do have to remind him that physical acts of aggression against the furniture and house can be considered property damage and that he can not break things just because he is angry or disappointed. (This has been the first year that I have not had to patch drywall !)



Other than really setting boundaries and making sure that they are enforced and understood , medication is really important and also finding a good psychiatrist and psychologist and working with the school (Bipolar is an emotional disability and school can cause major problems).



It has taken 3 hospitalizations and 5 different psychicatrists (and many docs before that whom just wanted to label him ADHD and ODD) before my husband and I finally found someone to actually listen to us and try to find a way to stabilize his moods. My son is currently hospitalized for the 4th time after a major destructive incident and he is finally having a complete psychological workup done (all other dr.'s wanted to really on the school psych eval) while they get him off the ADHD medications that are irritating the bipolar diorder.



Just try to remember that your son is not trying to cause you all the grief that you may be experiencing and that he just is still trying to find his way. Bipolar in children and adolescents is a lot different than in adults, and some doctor's still insist that it does not exist and should not be treated with medications (that it is the child's defiance or ADHD or bad parenting, lack of discipline, possible abuse, etc.. that is causing the behaviors)

Dawn - posted on 10/19/2009

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I'm in the same boat. My son is almost 18 and is bi polar. When he is happy every one is happy. But, if he gets just alittle irritated everybody hears about it. It is so fustrating. He is a good kid. But, I'm so afraid that he isn't going to have any kind of future. Every thing I say to him is blown way out of perportion. I think counseling is a good idea. But, who can afford it? I'm a very young single mom. He has never known his father. Which is the best for him. My parents try to help out. But, they baby him. So, now I'm the bad guy. Grandma and Grandpa give him everything. I hope they are there for him when he is 30 and can't keep a job.

DEBRA - posted on 10/19/2009

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from a very young age i knew there was something not right with my stepdaughter!i took her to various doctors,counsellors and psychs but no-one could pinpoint exactly what was wrong,they all had various prognosises!it was a very long haul over the years,what with temper tantrums that turned into rages,self-harm which turned into her attacking her siblings and myself!!i was on the verge of a nervous breakdown,and had a short timeout when she was sent to stay with a relative for all our sanity!i still wouldnt give up till i got an answer as her mother had given up on her at the age of 6!i promised her i never would!at the age of 17 she was finally diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and was promptly put on medication!what a different child!god we barely knew who this girl was!the medication has been changed once as she had some side effects from the 1st one she was put on,but this medication seems to be working well!at least we finally had an answer and it wasnt anything we were doing wrong,or her just trying to make our lives as hard as possible,(it certainly seemed that way!),this was something she had no control over,and she would show genuine remorse when she realized that she had injured me on several occassions.we now have a close relationship and i enjoy her being around.so,things do change with the medication,she is so much more reasonable,i can sit down and talk to her without fear of being verbally attacked and all our lives are so much more pleasant,especially hers!i just have to keep reinforcing the fact that it is really important to keep taking the meds because it is them that is making her feel better!i reaally feel it all came to a head at 17 tho due to hormonal factors as well,she was a "late bloomer" so she was dealing with all that and probably felt ready to explode!!

Donna - posted on 10/18/2009

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Quoting diane:

what to do with a bi polar 17yrold that won't listen?

My son is 17 and is bi polar he will not take no for an answer and if he doesnt get his way he hits things or throws them. and cusses at us. We tell him over and over what not to do and what needs to be done and we might as well talk to a wall. And then there are times he is awesome so I get the mixed feelings about it cause he is my son his step dad loves him and he is at his whits end and this causes us to argue other than that we get along great but Im curious for some insight and if anyone else has these problems and if any suggestions? Thank you


Hi Diane,



I personally have Bipolar and your son needs to be on medication. A pyschiatrist and or therapist may help, too. I just got on a mood stabilizer this year and I'm in my 40's. It's like being a gueina pig at first with the medication but hang in there.



 



Donna

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