How do you raise a 23 month old that almost seems bi-polar?

Kariann - posted on 05/17/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My daughter has always been very emotional but very independent. Though this past month seems to have reached it's toughest point. Daddy was a stay at home dad for a year and half so she has bonded with him. Everything is about daddy. I have been around but work a lot and have some health issues that cause me to be laying down or unable to join them most nights. We hope this will change soon and I can join the family more.

Though my daughter, refuses to hug me or even acknowledge I am in the room unless she can hug daddy first. Now when we go over to grandparents house she will cry and cry and not let go of daddy. Then a few hours later she warms up to some of the family except for my brothers. At her other set of grandparents she warms up very little and just wants to leave. She is an only child but has been in daycare since she was 1.5 years old. Even in daycare if another child gets in her space or touches her she will scream and just explode. It's like there are two sides to my baby. One that is so smart and independent and the other side that seems to be lost and insecure. We do exercises that help promote confidence like cleaning, helping us pick out items, shopping, planting, and paying cashiers. If she is in control she seems stable. But the moment she realizes this is not the norm she is a completely different child. I have bi-polar and there are many times by the way she reacts I see myself in her so much and I worry

We recently moved and haven't found a pedi that we like yet so I am not sure where to turn. I did just buy the book "raising your spirited child" in hopes of making a connection there.

Is there anyone else out there that is learning how to raise a child like this?

Thank you for reading.

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Nancy - posted on 06/19/2011

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Over a year ago I moved away from my family to finally join my hubby. My daughter went through hell, she stopped sleeping, stopped eating and we dealt with some severe separation anxiety especially if I was the one going anywhere. Toddlers are very sensitive to changes in routine and their lives.

It's taken my hubby and I a while but we have finally helped build up her sense of security that mommy and daddy are always going to come home. I take her to parent and tot classes once a week and have gradually in the past year physically distanced myself from her to the point where she is comfortable and content being on the other side of the room from. Last month I started dropping her off at Sunday school class with no tears or dramas. She's around older kids in the neighbourhood and as long as they are not bossy she's content to parallel play. It's a process.

In the meantime, hold off on labeling your child, I'm a firm believer that if you think your child is BP or ADD or ADHD than you will find the evidence to support that assumption. See a early childhood psychologist or therapist and see if that helps. I highly recommend the author Alyson Schafer, I love her books and her perspective on child behaviours.

Shannon - posted on 06/17/2011

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you cant determine your child has bipolar at that young of age really it does run in families.

i have bipolar and some other things that i dont feel comfortable disclosing but my kids have a 50 / 50 chance of haveing what i have my husband on the other hand doesnt have anything like what i got.

but i do believe at age 5 or 6 you can then determine what you baby has if she has anything.

Jane - posted on 05/19/2011

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I have been learning how to do that for the past 16 years, and I don't expect to stop learning any time soon. My son is ADHD, ODD, Bipolar and has some sensory issues. It is certainly an adventure.



Once you find a good pediatrician you might see if he/she can recommend a good child psychologist. Otherwise, look for some sort of counseling center for families and start there. You need to get someone who knows their stuff to take a look (actually quite a few looks) at your daughter to determine if there are some tips they can share with you, or if there is something more serious going on.



Bipolar does run in families so it is quite possible that your daughter is indeed bipolar. However, she could have other difficulties, such as sensory disorders, ODD, or other things, so it will take an expert to figure out what is going on. A lot of these are co-morbid, meaning they tend to occur together in various combinations. That makes it more complicated to diagnose what is going on.



Often bipolar kids (like my son) have a huge need to feel in control, as you have already seen with your daughter. You might examine each of her problem situations and see if there is any way you can alter them, even ever so slightly, to give her that sense of control. For example, I tell my son that he can have cereal, scrambled eggs or a sausage biscuit for breakfast and then I serve him his choice, instead of asking what he wants, having to say we don't have it, and then having to deal with the resulting tantrum.



Whatever her diagnosis turns out to be, if she ends up with a diagnosis, they have made huge strides in developing medications to treat what in our family we call "brain imbalances." Figuring out which medication or combination of meds works best for an individual is still a work of art rather than science, but today with the right meds many folks can live perfectly typical lives. The only trouble is in convincing them to take their meds as prescribed.



Good luck! There are a lot of "special needs moms" here, especially in the special needs communities. Look around and you may find a lot of help.



BTW my son was "different" from birth, but only began to be destructive beyond the norm when he turned three. However, his twos weren't all that great because they were never terrible. He didn't demand control, fuss or anything. He mostly watched things from a distance and was completely unlike the other kids in that he never said no or demanded his way.



But once he turned three, OMG!

Katherine - posted on 05/19/2011

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23 months old is way to young to be diagnosed with BP. She is just figuring out her sense of self. They are becoming independent at that age. She is not autistic either IMO. My daughter is 2 and throws the same kinds of fits. It's just their nature.

Ann - posted on 05/19/2011

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Your daughter may be in the autism spectrum. There is something where children have sensory issues (too much noise or too much going on.) Maybe a developmental psychologist could help figure it out.

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