Should I trust someone who is bipolar to babysit my kids?

Nicole - posted on 01/09/2010 ( 117 moms have responded )

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We have to switch babysitters and the lady I met with today is really nice but it made me nervous when she told me she is bipolar. I don't know too much about it and now I'm secon guessing my choice to have her babysit my kids.

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Renee - posted on 01/09/2010

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For starters, I'd say this woman sounds like she's managing her condition and has been completely up front and honest with you. That alone is commendable. If nothing more, you should by all means at least acknowledge that for her and let her know how much you appreciate it.

Secondly, I'd do my homework myself and not rely on opinions of others who say they've experienced bi-polar individuals. I have had experience with bi-polar people as well and each one was unique and varied. Some people have successfully managed bi-polar conditions to live healthy normal functioning lives. Others have not and have truly been unpredictable. I'd suggest doing your homework and then evaluating your own thoughts and feelings about the issue from there. You obviously have some concerns if you're even questioning the situation. Keep in mind, there are many people that function well with bi-polar conditions. Yet there are so many others that seem to function well, that have never been diagnosed. Your main concern is your child. Anyone who watches your child, should come into scrutiny for their behaviors and decision making abilities...regardless of their mental health conditions....diagnosed or undiagnosed. The risks are still the same no matter who is watching your child.

Thirdly, I'd definitely follow up with references like you might do with any baby sitter. I'd ask whatever questions you feel pertinent to the care of your child. It's your right to know.

Lastly, I'd be say "trust" your gut intuition. If there's some sort of nagging feeling that you just can't put your finger on right now...trust it. Seek another daycare situation. If you're feeling comfortable with it, then "trust" that as well. No matter who watches your child, you must feel 100% sure of their abilities. If you're not feeling that way, then there's a chance you could be right. I personally will not take any "chances" when it comes to the well being of my child/ren. But if I was confident with the individual, regardless of condition...I'd trust my judgment.

Good luck and don't forget to follow up with how you made out. :)

KRISTY - posted on 01/12/2010

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I am a professional child counsellor and have worked in the mental health field for many years, i also am a mother of 4. After reading all the posts and combining my own knowledge i am of the opinion that you should trust your intuition, if ou are not comfortable with this person 100% its just not worth the risk. You will be at work worrying the whole time and that is not fair to you or your employer. Its not that the woman has a mental health issues its that you dont feel 100% with her. I have not hired carers or let my kids attend pre school for much less reasons than this. I need to be totally sure that i feel happy with the person that will be partly raising my child while i am at work. Ask yourself does this person have the same values as me, is this person likely to raise my child as i would if i were at home? Dont throw your instincts to the side for politeness or political correctness, god gave you a maternal instinct for a reason. Use it!

Jodie - posted on 01/12/2010

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There are different types of bi polar disorder. Some have schizo effective disorder with their bipolar. If on the right medication people with bipolar's can live normal healthy lives and you wouldn't even know that they had a mental illness.
I think people are to fast to judge people with mental health issues. I commend this prospective babysitter for being honest with her prospective new employer. The truth is by law you have no right to know she has bipolar or cancer or any illness for that matter. If she is qualified for the position and has good references what should her mental illness have to do with anything. Aren't we all a little mental???

Amanda - posted on 12/21/2012

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See this is the kinda thing ppl have to go thru when they admit up front the have a disorder! I myself am bipoler and prego with my first child...Anytime iv told someone im bipoler they say i dont seem angry...lol! Mostly i get sad and crawl in bed for long periods of time...or like something small will weigh on my mind for no reason. But iv been on my pills for a long time and have a good mix that works but im not a zombie. I think its how they handle it. Im off of them since im prego i feel good and i plan to go back on them as soon as i give birth! lol im waiting for my doc to see if its safe to breast feed with them or not. If not i will just bottle feed the baby...better for the baby to have a stable mom than anything else! I understand why you feel like it might be a bad idea but it dosnet make her any diff than anyone else who might watch your kid. Would you rather have someone who knows they have a issue and takes care of it, or someone with undiagnosed issue that cant handle your kid??

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117 Comments

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Joy - posted on 12/15/2012

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Not always true. I have a family member who knows exactly what her diagnoses is (bi polar 11) and for a while she will be fine and then stops taking her medicine and goes off the deep end. Just because they know what they have doesn't mean they will be responsible. She also has a college degree, but doesn't mean a thing.

[deleted account]

I was misdiagnosed as having an illness worse than bipolar. A psychological test accurately said I have delusional disorder, but my psychiatrist was unscrupulos and upgraded it into one of those illnesses that have a terrible social stigma, one that has more social stigma than delusional disorder or bipolar. Even though I showed her the psychological test.Regardless of which diagnosis people think is legit, (other than mental health professionals, most think it is delusional disorder), it's not fair to not trust one with one's kids because of a controlled mental illness. Instead of being bigoted against the mentally ill, it should depend on whether one can get a doctors note saying that this person is fit to watch kids. According to the New York Times, that's how it's determined whether one can adopt. Even people diagnosed as psychisophrenia are allowed to adopt if they can get a doctor;s note, according to the article. It's up to the biological parent whether to accept the note. Half do, half don't. My opinion is the doctors note should be trusted. I have two children, and a lot of people encouraged me to work with children since I am so good with them. Children are drawn to me. Unfortunately, because of people' bigotry against the mentally ill, (including some comments here) I know that that door is closed to me. I am deeply hurt that people wouldn't trust me with their children. I read on the internet today that having a mental illness, in and of itself, isn't grounds for removing children from their home. Yet prejudiced people believe that mental illness in and of itself can cause them to hurt or neglect children they are watching. People need to release their prejudices and open up their hearts.

Cassie - posted on 07/19/2012

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I believe it depends on the person, I myself am bipolar, but I handle it well am no danger to anyone, in some people its a anger problem. However most people that I know it simply is that when not handle or properly taken care of our emotions often change (ie Very hyper and energetic to tired, or sad). If I was in your situation I would still want to be sure that I know the person and what there method for lack of better word is to handling the emotional rollercoaster. To be sure that you feel comfortable with them watching your child. In any case do what you feel is best and trust your judgement as a mother.

Jessica - posted on 07/14/2012

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I have bi-polar disorder as well as anxiety and depression. I just had a baby a month ago, and have an 11 year-old. There is nothing wrong with someone who has a psychiatric disorder. As long as you feel she will never put your child in danger, and she is managing her disorder than there is no reason to not trust her.
If she has ever given you a reason to raise your brow then maybe you should reconsider, if not then go with your gut instinct and let her babysit.

Elsie - posted on 07/11/2012

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I have a 19 year old whose diagnosis was changed recently from depression to bipolar. She is responsible, intelligent, and motivated. She graduated HS at the top of her class and she's in university in a very challenging course of study. She participates in therapy to learn emotional regulation skills (DBT) and she's on meds. There is no reason to expect her not to have a fulfilling career and life, including marriage and motherhood.

Instead of stereotyping and prejudging, why don't you ask for references?

Lisa - posted on 06/07/2011

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I am a single mother of two school aged children and I have bipolar disorder. I have never once hurt my own children or anyone else's. As long as this woman is taking her medications as prescribed by her doctor you should be fine.

As with any sitter, ask for references and contact other parents of children she has or is taking care of. If she is a state certified worker, you can check and see if there have been any reports of abuse or neglect as well.

I admire the fact that she was open to you about her disorder especially with the stigma that is attached to this disorder. This openness is a good sign that she will be trust worthy with your little one. However as a parent if you are uneasy go with your gut feeling and dont feel bad for doing something that can put your mind at ease.

Ann - posted on 02/01/2010

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Biploar is something that is very serious and I would not trust her with my kids.

Marilyn - posted on 01/31/2010

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Wow! You need to read this book about daycare providers. It tells the inside scoop. A tell all book about how daycare providers really feel, what we think and how we deal. It is very revealing and will help you make the right choice! here is the link:

https://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=72028

Robin - posted on 01/31/2010

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The nature of the disease can be difficult. If they are on their meds, they sometimes feel so good, they don't think they need the med so they stop. When they are in a funk, they are too sick to take their meds. There should be a third party who monitors that the patient is taking their meds on a regular basis. If there is a monitor and it can be confirmed, this person can be considered, but I would listen to your inner voice. If you are nervous, there is a reason. Listen to your "mommy sense". It does not fail us.

[deleted account]

I would think twice as you have done and if you do think twice then you need to sa NO . I am asking you what were you thinking. lol . People are ok as long as they take there meds. theropy and ect. but i would not trust anyone . when it came to the kids. you can find someone in time . if so do so . JUst think if they had a bad morning and they come in to take care of the kids and they forgot to take the meds then they take it out on the kids . No

Holly - posted on 01/29/2010

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I was just driviing home today wondering when the stigma of mental illness will go away and what I can do to help it. I believe this woman being up front about her illness is a step toward the right direction. I think you need to base your decision on something esle besides her bi-polar disorder. I too suffer from mental disorders and it makes me really sad to think that someone would not let me take care of their child because of that. I take care of my children just fine and all of my friend's kids and my neice just fine.

Heidi - posted on 01/29/2010

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I know you should'nt judge people but when it comes to the health and safety off your children that goes out the window. I've been around Bipolar sufferers and most are fine if they stick to their med's but when they don't its a different story. Personally I would say No as its an unpredictable condition. If you wanted to you could discuss your concerns wish her and maybe get permission to see and talk with her Dr as all cases are different. Its your children so you do have the right to ensure their safety..

Samkelisiwe Titi - posted on 01/29/2010

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The honest truth is that we can never really know anyone because people can lie about who they are..and you can open your home to rapists and all sorts of perverts so if a person is honest enough to tell you that they are bipolar then its at least a tick for honesty so I would learn more about it and find out what makes her lose it..they are human beings too and need support and understanding.

Jennifer - posted on 01/18/2010

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I'm a counselor and in my experience I would not take the chance. I'm sure she's a very nice woman and probably managing her illness. However, I've seen what it looks like when the illness is not being managed appropriately and a person experiencing such drastic mood swings should not be caring for a child. Personally, I would never chance it. Too scary!

Linda - posted on 01/18/2010

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We, your asking the question so you obviously have doubts!!!!!! Read more about bipolar, until you do so make other arrangements, that should put your mind at rest until you decide what to do. Good luck with your decision.

Leighanne - posted on 01/17/2010

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If they were my kids and it were me making the decision....no way would I even consider it. If it were a job such as cleaning...maybe I would but looking after my children...definitely no way. Bipolar sufferers go through refusal of medication stages (and believe me it's often). Doing so would make her become unreliable and you may find yourself taking last minute time off work regularly. It's not discrimination...it's common sense. Like I said...if it were just as simple as cleaning...sure...but your own children?? Well that's a big risk to take. Good luck with your decision :)

Billie - posted on 01/17/2010

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I worked for and with two different people who were bipolar, a man and a woman. The woman who was my boss loved me one day and hated me the next. She would tell me horrible stories about how she treated her daughter...only she didn't think it was horrible. Her daughter was so smothered. One night, the daughter, after coming home from a date was driven to the emergency room where a blood test was taken to make sure no drugs or alcohol was in her system. She was also checked to make sure she did not have any sex. The daughter was always clean but this became routine.

The male who worked in the same office as me was the same way; you didn't dare challenge him on the way he did things. He was easily annoyed. I became aware of his rollercoaster emotions and just made sure I stayed on his good side. He scared me!
If this person was employed in a day care center and being watched I would almost be okay with it. But having your child in her home with no other adults present is very scary. I take seizure medicine and forget often; even though I know how important it is to my health. Bipolar patients forgetting their medicine; which I guarantee happens is not someone I would leave my child with.

Mia - posted on 01/17/2010

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me personally i would not have anyone take care of my children who has bipolar. if one day they dont take there medicine they can get very moody, frustrated, mad, angry and then they can do anything to the child and dont mean it. if i was u dont do it find some one esle to watch ur children

Blaine - posted on 01/17/2010

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There are so many things that a potential babsitter could hide from you. I am guessing if she was upfront about her disorder that it is well controlled. From my experience in healthcare bipolar disorder can be well controlled with consistent use of meds. You can always check her references and then have her over for a "play date" with the kids while you are at home doing other things. That will give you a chance to see how she interacts with the children and you will have time to get some things done around the house. Another thing that would be helpful is to discuss your concerns with her. If she disclosed her problem in the first place she is likely open to talking about it further.

Katie - posted on 01/17/2010

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People with bi-polar most often are doing well to care for themselves. Usually it takes an incredible team behind someone with bi-polar to care for someone with children. Such as making sure that her mind is in the right place from day to day, as well from one hr to the next. This team is also has to be able to know the difference when the moods switch, and how to handle the situation that comes along with mood swings and emotions with bi-polar. Third having to be able to have the ability to check to see if they are doing all that is needed for a person with bi-polar to function...theropy, meds, and checking in with the people who are on the support team of the person with bi-polar.

In any case it is possible for a person to control bi-polar, I know of Dr.s, nurses, business people, teachers as well as home makers who all function well, but that is due to the great support team behind them...

And anytime your gut is scared or doing any kind of cart wheel affect on you, those are the things most of all we watch for...these are your children and your the one in the end who makes the final decision, or who is primarily responsible for them...so yes I say do the back ground check, ask questions, and know your facts about bi-polar...there is more than enough information on websites to educate you enough to allow you to know the right questions to ask this other person or maybe yourself...good luck..

Arlene - posted on 01/16/2010

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I see that you are not lacking advice here. I would say no. You number one responsibility is your child's safety and there should be no risking it at any costs. Yes, the lady is commendable by letting you know, but my husbands side of the family deals with bi-polar and sorry to say individuals just don't always handle taking their medicine when they should. Again, your child is your number one responsibility, don't let some one else's problem become your tragedy.

Lynn - posted on 01/16/2010

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Hi, I would say not to let this person watch your children. I work at the victims program and we alot of problems with bi-polar women and children. Not to say all women with bi-polar are not to be trusted but not always reliable and seem to anger easily.

Monya - posted on 01/16/2010

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i would just like everyone with negative posts to reflect on your own lives.. how insecure these comments are.. this is hurtful.. you should not be speaking about hard-working women like this.. people with disabalities are suppose to be seen just like anyone else.. there are laws in place to protect this right..

it is no better to judge based on: Ms MD, missing a limb (but functioning just fine) depression, (which is seen as ok), weight, ect..

please remember you are talking about real feelings with real emotions..

you have been hurtful, shame on you.



as for those with supportive sugestions, even if you are not encouraging to use the bi-polar sitter.. thank you.. your kindness and simply knowladge..



for other bi-ploar moms.. thank you for the encouraging words... you are an inspiration!

Beverly - posted on 01/16/2010

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You need to check into her history, the severity of her case, and any references she can give you. Your decision could also be affected by the age and maturity level of your children as well as how well behaved they are.

Yvette - posted on 01/16/2010

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No! Always follow your gut instinct. If you're second guessing your choice, then it's probably right. Find someone else!

Melissa - posted on 01/16/2010

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If you are second guessing this woman watching your child...don't go with her. I am sure there are other people who babysit around your area. Go with your gut instinct. :)

Gillian - posted on 01/16/2010

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I would check with other mums whose kids she babysits for and i would check out the internet

Kelley - posted on 01/15/2010

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No disrespect at all. But what about all the mom's and Dad's out here that have bipolar or other mental disorder's are they not allowed to have kid's? I know we all just want to protect our kid's. But I hope no one would even think of watching someone Else's kid if not controlled. You can have a normal life. We all have to do what we think is best for our amazing, babies.

Have a great day!!

[deleted account]

As someone who does home day care, I respect her for being up front and honest.

My best advice regardless of mental illness ect is trust your gut. If you are uneasy about it then politely tell her thank her for her time and move on.
If you really like her and what she has to offer and other then not understanding what it is she has, then trust that instinct and go with her.

Always always trust your gut.

CHRISTIE - posted on 01/15/2010

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No way you never know what mood they will be in while you gone and what will happen to your baby

Kelley - posted on 01/15/2010

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Very well said. I would hate to have someone say no to me because of my bipolar disorder. I'm very well controlled and it's not real severe. But I still do get the highs and lows at time's. I would never hurt my son 5yr. next month and my Daughter 3yr.

Thank you for being so straight up. I think people just get scared of mental disorder's is all. They just don't understand and their afraid for their kid's.

Have a great one!!!

Angela - posted on 01/15/2010

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In my opinion, no. I also have some knowledge and experience dealing with bi-polar patients and they can definitely be unpredictable. At the end of the day, although she is definitely being up front and honest with you, this is your child's safety and best interest that you are concerned about most.

Ya'cara - posted on 01/15/2010

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I work with people who are bipolar. Not all are harmful (that I know of)..But honesty..I wouldnt do it if your second guessing. Its your intuition..I'd follow it. . Kids can be challenging for people.

Bridget - posted on 01/15/2010

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it all depends on how she is. i work with a lot of people who have bipolar disorders and as long as they are on their meds taking them on a regular basis they are fine.. if you know that she is on medication and taking it religously like she should be then i wouldntsee it being a problem but if your already concerned you should listen to your gut feeling and maybe look around for another babysitter that you might feel more comfortable with

Lisa - posted on 01/15/2010

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Does she take meds? Ask her what coping strategies she uses. Is it/how long has it been under control? Ask her what signs she has of a recurrence. There's lots of bipolar people including parents, teachers, etc. Just having a label doesn't tell you anything.

Jamie-Leigh - posted on 01/15/2010

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I am myself a mum of two gorgeous boys, who also has bipolar, I am an amazing mum and have never done anything to hurt anyone, never mind a child.

My personal opinion is not that you felt uncomfortable with the lady, its the word bipolar ur most uncomfortable with. At the end of the day you must always go with your gut instinct, but discrimination is so unfair. So many people judge something before they fully understand it. U can research all you like but it will not give you any answers, u will never truly understand what it is like until you experience it yourself.

If I were you I would strongly suggest you try and find another child carer, the fact you came on here to ask suggests there is doubt. Where there is doubt in your mind concerning your children, you will never rest or forgive yourself if anything did happen to them. I was very particular on what Child Care Provider I chose for my boys. When u find the right one it all seems right, then you know u hav made the right choice. I hope this helps :)

Wendy - posted on 01/15/2010

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While it is great to know that she has identified and is managing her illness with medication, I advise against you choosing her as a babysitter. Whenever you have a doubt - even if you think you are being unkind, follow your intuition. That is my advice.

Ruwaida - posted on 01/15/2010

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Hi Nicole

I found your question intriguing, as I employed a bipolar pre-school teacher who whilst she was on her meds was fine, but recently has been off everything (due to family pressure or something) and came in today to tell me she isn't coping looking after the 3 children in her group, and had to leave IMMEDIATELY because of how stressed out she felt. My other teachers average 6 to 8 children in their groups. I was lost for words, but realised that her meds were what worked for her as she was a different person when on them.



So like everyone has said, go with your gut don't judge her unfairly because even 'normal' people have been known to go off the rails. A person with managed bipolar should be given a chance... just make sure you know what you are dealing with, Good Luck!

Kelley - posted on 01/15/2010

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Is a mental disorder where you get really high emotional state and a real low emotional state. One min. you are totally happy,sable someone may say something or some situation may happen and you get angry or u can get very depressed. Your mind races. Feel out of control. Hard for other's to understand what it is like. I have a mild case of bipolar.



But am doing much better. Can get so bad you can't get out of bed. Or you can blow up at someone for no reason and not really aware of why u got mad. Medication can really help.



Also a good diet,exercise,and Lot's of understanding people around you. Hope this explain's a little more. Have a good one!!!

Katharine - posted on 01/15/2010

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It depends on how well you know the person. I am a social worker, working on a mental health inpatient unit. I have been working with mentally ill children and adults for about 10 years now. I'm currently 6 months pregnant. I work with these people daily and encounter many different psychiatric disorders, all of our patients are at their worst, since they are hospitalized.
Many people are diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and we might not even know it. Some people are able to function normally with the correct combination of medication and other forms of therapy. Other people can be unpredictable, but even people that aren't mentally ill are unpredictable also.
Just because someone is diagnosed with a disorder, doesn't necessarily make them harmful. I would speak to her more about. See how long she has been living with the disease - diagnosed, what type of medications is she taking, treatment receiving, etc. You go with your gut though. If you don't feel comfortable still, then it's ok.I know people that are Bipolar and have children of their own, they are fine.
Hope that this helps.

Shameeka - posted on 01/15/2010

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Its really all up to you. If your judgement is telling you no then dont but i personally know that Bipolar disorder is manageable and can be managed.

Sarah - posted on 01/15/2010

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i agree with michelle i have had experience dealing with bipolar patients as well They are unpredictable at times and can change very quickly for no reason i would say no

Kristy - posted on 01/14/2010

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Trust your gut...if you don't feel comfortable leaving you children her-- even just a little bit uncomfortable -- then do not leave your children with her. As far as I'm concerned, it is that simple.

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