Seeking Info on Bi Polar/ADHD Child

Updated on March 07, 2007
C.H. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
21 answers

I am a single mother of a 3 year old boy who has been diagnosed with Bi Polar and ADHD I am looking for maybe a support group or just other mothers that have or are dealing with the same issues. I get so frustrated I feel at times like I am doing something wrong as a parent but I know that I am doing the best that I can. I have no support from my family his dad has nothing to do with him and hasn't since he was born. Daycare is telling me that he is acting questions about daddy and they don't know what to tell him there is no way that I can explain this to him in a way that he would understand they say he acts really bad when they don't answer his questions, he never talks to me about it so I don't know if I believe that is why he is acting out. Anyway I guess I am looking for support to know what I am doing wrong if anything at all or just how to be more understanding about his mood swings and behavior.

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N.H.

answers from Bloomington on

I am a single mother of a 9 year old son with Bi-polar, ADHD, ODD, and IED. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. I can be here for support also.

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J.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi,
My 6 year old has ADHD and his phycoligist says he is bi poler, but cant diagnose him until he is 8. I thought that was the rule. What state are you in??

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T.K.

answers from Kansas City on

C.,
Unless you have a very strong family history of bi-polar disorder, PLEASE consider going to a totally different doctor and getting a second opinion. Doctors are starting to throw around the bi-lolar diagnosis as easily as they throw around ADHD. And even worse, it's becoming a more common theory among them that ADHD is actually a "warning" sign that kids will be bi-polar in later years.
The problem with these diagnosis, is that they are made by very little else than just asking questions!! They're made by reports of parents, and sometimes teachers. And that's it!
My kid isn't behaving in class, he gets in fights, he isn't paying attention, he's so moody-- etc, etc and all of a sudden they're on Ritalin, Adderall, Depakote, Lithium...
Well, if every 4rd kid is ADHD, then every 4rd kid is going to be Bi-polar???? How in the WORLD can a doctor diagnose a 3 year old as bi-polar???? They used to require at LEAST 5 years of observation and notation of problems before they would EVER make such a diagnosis. There have been several cases recently, where they've discovered that people were being MISDIAGNOSED with Bi-polar, when it was something totally differnet. There are MANY other conditions that can mimic bi-polar. Did they do CAT scans, MRI's to rule out a brain tumor or head trauma? Did they test for Multiple Sclerosis? Lupus? Lyme's Disease? All these things and more can mimic Bi-polar. Something as simple as a salt imbalance can create the SAME SYMPTOMS as bi-polar! Did they check for that?
Physicians-- HEAL THYSELVES!!
These are SERIOUS diagnoses-- bi-polar is often associated with Schizophrenia and other mood disorders-- we're talking about very serious conditions that put people on very strong medications for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. And- they're always having to get on stronger and heavier doses, because the body adjusts, and soon the lower dose isn't enough.
And the truth is, that MOST of these kids being diagnosed with ADHD and other mood and behavioral disorders do NOT have some kind of biological problem, it's an environmental problem. It's a behavioral problem due to problems in the home-- lack of consistent parental discipline or supervision, lack of rules and boundaries, single parents, divorce, custody battles,etc. The same kids who's parents and teachers INSIST that their kid can't concentrate because he's so "hyper" and "can't focus", can miraculously sit in front of a computer screen or nintendo and play video games for hours on end! And their concentration is SO GOOD that you can call them over and over again for dinner and they don't hear you!
C.-- this isn't meant as an attack on you or your parenting-- I don't know you and I've never been in your home. But bi-polar is a serious diagnosis and unless they've done all the testing to rule out everything else, (and not just use the Mood Disorder questionnaire) and unless you have a strong family history of Bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc-- then believe me-- you do NOT want to put your child on these very strong psychotropic medications.

Best wishes for you and your son!
T.

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M.K.

answers from St. Louis on

I agree about getting a second opinion. And I would also second making sure you are seeing a child psychiatrist, not just any psychiatrist. I've got my Master's in Counseling and diagnosing a child at that age with those seems crazy to me.

Get a second opinion!

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K.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Have you talked to your son about his father at all? Have you given him any answer on why he isn't in his life? You say "there's no way I can explain it to him in a way that he would understand." You don't have to go into detail about it with him but sometimes kids need to hear things like its not their fault and that it wasn't anything they did. You can say..."Daddies make mistakes sometimes and hopefully someday he'll decide to see what a great kid you are." Meanwhile, tell him how great he is and how much you love him. I think parents forget that kids are people too and they understand more than you think they do. As for the Bi-polar diagnosis, I agree with the others, get a second opinion!

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D.T.

answers from Tulsa on

Since you have a diagnosis I'm hoping you have taken your child to a psychologist or psychiatrist not just a pediatrician.

Once you know that someone that understands the problems then you can address the question of his father. It's simple, his father, and stress that word father, lives in a different house on a different street and he chooses not to see you. It doesn't have anything to do with you as a son. It's because your father isn't ready to be a part of your life. Meanwhile, you have me, and (the daycare workers names) who want to make you happy." Then if he gets to pestering you with the same question over and over start with choices. You get down to his level, look him in the eye and say, "listen, you have a choice, you can go play and have fun or you can choose to continue this questioning and lose (something)" like TV priviledges, favorite activity, toys, etc. Start a list. The most prized things go on top of the list.

To get them back he has to be good for 3 hours in a row.

Now be realistic about the things that set him to acting out. If you decided not to go to McDonald's after daycare when that's your usual routine well then you've brought on the explosion and you're going to have to endure it. So break it down into 3 lists.

1st: The things that he absolutely has to do and even if he throws a fit about it, well he's still going to have to do it no choices and no exceptions. These are usually personal safety issues and physical agression.

2nd: there's the stuff that you know she knows better but he's just not going to do willingly the first time. That's when you just give him the choice. And stress if he makes a bad choice he has to pay the price.

3rd: theres's the stuff you would love to see him do, like say please and thank you, excuse me and ask for things from his classmates instead of throwing a fit and demanding it. That's when you need to give him the choice more than once and then tell him you'll decide for him and you'll choose to just take something away from him.

ALSO make sure that you have at least 20 minutes alone with him every day. This is when you read to him. It has to be every day. Spend 5 minutes of it letting him dictate what is going to happen. pick out 2 activities he likes set them on his bed and tell him this is your special time, he can chose one thing to do for the next 5 minutes. if he gets up from the bed or coffee table you can't play with him and if he throws a fit about anything special time is over, period. During this time you cannot ask questions, criticize or give instructions. You should describe his every move, praise his choices and actions. copy his good actions and choices, and be enthusiastic about it. When those 5 minutes are over you tell him you are putting the toys away. he doesn't have to help but the toy is going to be put away so you two can read.

I use all of these every day.

You are not alone. I seek help at Family and Children's Services in Tulsa. There are plenty of places that you can turn to in the City. Perhaps the best place to seek support is within yourself. It's easy to feel you've been doing something wrong. BUT it's better to understand that you:
Cannot take anything personally
you are always going to be truthful
you are going to do the best you can
and you aren't going to make assumptions about his feelings or anyone else's.

Take care,
D.

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G.M.

answers from Kansas City on

yes bi-polar and adhd does happen in children you need to go to websites and research but most boys at one time or another disrupt the class and don't have that problem you do need to see a different doctor a specialist and see they will tell you yes or no if your son has it. you can go to the mental healt and talk to a physchiritis and they can go about telling you if he is or not but research first and take him to see a doctor that specialieze in it my Fiancee was 16 when he was diagnosed with Bipolar and Schizoaffective. as to the dad not being in the picture its hard to explain. I know a friend of mine told her kids that dad was away because they (parents ) couldn't get along and it was not fault of the children. I am going thru that with my divorce so as long as you tell them that its not their fault and when they get older to understand then tell them why he left. most kids his age are just active not bipolar or adhd so take him to a specialist

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B.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Yes, I completely agree with Tracy to go to another doctor for 2nd opinion. I am graduating with my Psychology degree this May and cannot understand how on earth a THREE year old can be diagnosed as Bi-Polar! My dad's wife has been diagnosed as such several years ago, but the diagnosis was based on SEVERAL years of her past actions and behavior. A 3-yr old is just coming into their own in terms of behavior and learning, I think such a diagnosis for your son is ludicrous. And as far as the ADHD goes, look at your son's environment. My own son is 2 1/2 now and there are many days where I get frustrated b/c he just won't calm down and he gets into one thing right after another. But I don't think that is anything unusual for a child his age who is curious and learning. I have recognized that sometimes he gets energy built up by being inside the house all day (I'm a SAHM) and just by taking him to the playground or getting him outside for fresh air can make a HUGE difference in his behavior and willingness to cooperate and obey. Basically, letting him burn off some steam! I'm not sure what symptoms he's exhibiting for ADHD, but again it seems he's too young to be labeled that. In my classes on Abnormal Psychology and Biopsychology we have learned that ADHD is all too often overdiagnosed, and in many cases is really just a discipline issue with the child (or complete lack thereof).

I am very sorry you do not have the help of your family or your son's dad. My sister-in-law is a single mom and I can certainly understand how things get overwhelming and it can be hard to do it all by yourself. But just remember your son will always remember what you've done for him and you will always be his hero for being the one that was always there for him. As far as him asking about his dad, I believe you need to be honest with him about his dad not being around, without going into great detail why of course. But just giving him an answer, even if he doesn't understand it at this age, might ease his mind.

Good luck, and please message me if you want to talk or need to get things off your chest. Even though I haven't had my kids diagnosed with anything like that, I am still a mom and we are all in the same boat in terms of loving our children and wanting to give them the best we can. But I fully agree that the support of other moms and friends can help us when things get difficult.

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S.L.

answers from Oklahoma City on

To families who are seeking a support group in the metro area's in yukon there is great group many of us have kids in your situation its free and we meet the 1st monday of the month at the Dale Roberts center in Yukon with a free meal the houst a 6-730 usually, we discus our feelings to topics in school issues to basic child rearing and the feelings of guilt and loss when we know its really not us. There are activities for all age groups young kids, pre teen (tweens) and youth. There is also a meal provided... If you would like to find out more private message me and i will gladly give you my phone number so we can talk and you can ask question too... I have bipolar as well, my 12 yr son was diagnosed at 3yrs old, now my daughter age 15 not has bipolar and ya know it really looks diffrent at all stages of life. a few great books to help you understand are "the bipolar child" ans "an unquiet mind". both books are great to learning with a basic overview... if ya want to talk message me with a request for a pnone number and we can talk more on your time I am open most of the time i do not have a job.

good luck ladies,
S.

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M.B.

answers from Lawton on

Dear C.,
I understand how you feel, My son is 9 now and I have been on a rollercoaster ride with him for 9 years. I always knew ther was something wrong with him even when he was just a little baby. I mean he is my son And as a mother you just know these things. The smallest things use to set him off, like learning to put on his clothes. I remimber once he was trying to put on a sock and didn't get it the first time, he just threw himself back ans slammed his head on the floor, got up in a fit of rage, when he wouldn't calm down I tried to pick him up and put him to bed.( a major struggle because when he is like this he turns into the hulk, is like he feels nothing and has the stength of a man) H picked up a toy and hit me across the face with it giving me a black eye. at this time he was about 1. By the time he was 18 mths old he had on differant occasions blacked my eyes, blodied my nose, and fractured my hand. I took him to Dr.#1 she said he was fine he was just an extream 2 year old. It was just the Terrible 2's. He got kicked out of Daycare, no body would babysit him,he almost got kicked out of head start for kicking the teacher. I had to go to the preschool all the time cause he was in trouble and by this time he is 4 ( so much for the terrible 2's theroy). Dr.#2 he is fine (dr. doesn't belive that is as bad as I say it is.)Anyway here we are 5 yrs.,3 dr.'s, 2 counslers, 1 physicologist(said he was ADHD/ Bi Polor put him on Focalin- Depakote- Zoloft she made this diagnosis after a 15 min visit with us while my son was not even incuded in the conversation., umpteen million suspensions from school, cops being called for hitting the teachers, and physical battles at home. The school finally realized I wasn't just blowing smoke and realized there was somthing wrong with my son.We are now working togeather and they have found 1 more physycologist, he came to the school and spent 1 hour with me and my husband, 1hour withe the teachers, prinipal, special ed teacher, and school councler.
Then he spent several hours with my son, giving him tests talking withhim and observing him. He told us he would let us know what the prognonis was in about a week. it took him about 2 weeks we all met at the school and had a phone confrance with him. he sent me all the results and in laymens terms explained what everything ment and what his recamindations were. My son did not have ADHA or Bi Polor never did. He was on all that medication for nothing. My son has a learning disability and ODD ( no medication needed). Thins are getting better but I have to stay at the school with him almost everyday.
I can't have a job because if i am not at the school they are calling me everyday.
If you want to talk or want any other info just e-mail me at [email protected]____.com and I will give you my phone number and you can call anytime ( You are going to need support!!!)
By the way I also have 2 other children they are fine.
so I know it isn't the way I raised them.
Goodluck
M.
[email protected]____.com

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S.S.

answers from Tulsa on

i am laughin over here...sorry...its not funny...but what doctor in their right mind would diagnose a 3 year old with bi polar...omg..that is like way out there and this person needs their license to practice REVEIWED...offically you can't diagnose a child until they have been through puberty

my advise...take it for what its worth...and i am a mother with a bi polar child and i have had foster kids with bi polar...

FIRST YOU NEED A NEW PHYCH TO GET A 2ND OPINION

secondly...you need a plan...ya know his friends in daycare have daddies and they talk about them...so naturally he is gonna ask about his daddy...now this part just hurts me...and it could be that he is acting out b/c he doesn't understand and no one is trying to help him to understand...they are much smarter than we give them credit for...even at 3

whether he asks you about his dad or not at home...then give the workers something to say...daddy moved and forgot to give us his address...give that baby something...without giving him too much hope...without making it seem that daddy is just too busy for him...you can't make it seem like its the childs fault or yours...but you sure can't make it seem like yours either...and you can't make daddy look like a bone head! NEITHER PARENT SHOULD EVEN DOWN ONE OR THE OTHER INFRONT OF THE CHILD!!! THAT IS A BIG NO NO!!! i know you want to...just spill your guts and tell em what a real winner your dad is...BUT YOU CAN'T..lmaooo

been there and still doin that g/f...i know how it feels...but my son is now 8 and understands more than i ever gave him credit for...now he knows his daddy is a bone head and i didn't even have to tell him...

lastly...you bring up daddy...and say "JANE SAID THAT YOU ASKED ABOUT DADDY TODAY?" you bring it up...i bet you that if you work with your daycare...things will calm down...and so will he...

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A.B.

answers from Kansas City on

I do think all 3 year olds are very active and have difficulty controlling their emotions and moods. If you think about it, even as adults we are not always able to do that successfully. So I would very seriously question an ADHD or bipolar diagnosis at this age. I also would not medicate my child at this age (don't know if they recommended that or not) but just deal with it until they were older, maybe even until after puberty.

As for his father, you need to tell him the truth, brief enough to be age appropriate. I would tell him where his dad is (if you know) and that he is an irresponsible person. You shouldn't put a value judgment on it. It will be hurtful to him, but it is just how it is, and trying to protect him from that truth is hurting him in other ways (acting out because he wants to know and the consequences for that).

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A.H.

answers from Lawton on

Hi C.,
I have a son that is 7 yrs old now that has been diagnosed with adhd, bipolar, depression, and learning disabilities since he was 3.5 yrs old. I know what you are going though. You need to sit him down and just tell him that is dad is no grown up enough to take care of him yet and that maybe one day in the future he might grow up and accept his responsibilities. I don't know what the cicumstances of that beak up is but that is what I told my son until he was old enough to understand the real truth. With his mood swings and behavioral issues {I am going to tell you what someone told me } You aren't doing anything wong as long as you ae getting him the help that he needs and showing him that he has unconditional love. It is a hard life having children with these special needs but they are worth the fight. I sometimes start thinking that I am failing him but I just pick myself up and tell myself that if I can keep him out trouble and going in the right direction that I am doing the right thing. If you need anything just let me know I am there for you. just remember try to keep yourself calm because they feed off from the anxiety that is in you.

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B.A.

answers from Oklahoma City on

C.,
Please do not put your child on meds. I am manic depressive(bi-polar) and adhd. I have been going to my psych and taking meds for a long time.
I know that it is genetic. and knowing this i have asked my psych about my chidren. He has them come with me to my appointments, but he said he would NEVER consider thinking of diagnosing them before they were between the ages of 8-10, when they can actualy express how they are feeling and why.
My boys are 2 and 5,and i know how u feel, but please look for another opinion.Do not let the daycare get u down.
If you would like, u can contact me and i would be happy to give you my Dr. name and #.
I hope everything is ok.
I do not believe you are wrong. every mother does the best they know how.please keep me posted. Iknow you don,t know me, but i do believe we could be good support for each other.

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H.R.

answers from Tulsa on

C. Children with mental disabilities are a tough problem I know I have dealt with my 12 year old all his life. Our cases might become similar my 12 year old was diagnosed with mental troubles at age 7 but has had them all his life. As for the Daddy problem there is no easy way to handle that one. at 3 years old all he knows is his freinds have daddies and he doesnt and it upsets him. Just let him know though his daddy isnt around you are and you love him more than any old daddy could. for the mental problems however those are rough when you are on your own. try some of the counciling centers or Family and Children's services I do not know of any support groups but you have my support on this one

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B.R.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi! I have an 8 year old daughter and for the first seven years of her life I was a single parent. Her dad hasn't seen her since she was about two weeks old. I also had many people tell me that she was a difficult child and I should have her checked for ADD and the like. I am now married with two step-children also in the house and I can tell you that I am so glad that I never had her diagnosed with those things. She was a little difficult sometimes and there were times that I thought I was never gonna make it by myself but I have learned so much over the past 8 years. She was difficult for so many other reasons that had nothing to do with ADD. Taylor also started asking questions about her dad at your son's age and it was really hard for me to answer those. The best answer I could come up with without saying anything negative about her father was that I don't know why he does the things he does, or rather doesn't do the things he should do. I definitely know how you are feeling right now, and if you ever need to talk or would like to hear more about how I dealt with it, message me back and I will help you any way I can. I am still dealing with it and let me tell you, I learn something new every day. If I can save you some of the heartache of having to learn those lessons the hard way, I would be more than happy to. Don't fret too much though. I promise you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

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M.C.

answers from Rockford on

i really do not have much advice but keep hanging in there i have a 5 yr who went undiagnosed until we attempted to put him in school with adhd a sever form of this and now i have a 2 yr old who is very temper mental and a 9 month old who is always wanting my attion so just hang in there. your boy is like mine he does not know his real father but he knows that he has a differnet last name then me and his brothers just waiting for him t askand i plan on telling him the truth i know some what of what u r going threw i can only help u so far but i can be here if you would like to talk

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S.J.

answers from Lawton on

I have raised an adult son who has ADHD and his 18 yr old sister who is dealing with the problem of bi-polar disorder. I have also managed a Child Development Center for over 13 yrs. I have seen plenty of boys who showed sign of ADHD. It turned out these boys needed nothing more than consistent structure. Many of these young boys entered first grade with NO behavior issues. There are some Dr.s who say you can diagnose in preschool. But my preschool experience tells me otherwise. There's still so much brain development yet to take place.

I suppose I am saying I have been on both sides of this controversial coin. I say it's too soon to tell, but there's lots you can do at this age to help regardless of the "label". I also say that you know deep down inside of yourself if you are getting a proper diagnosis or not.

If you need to talk with a mom who knows what you're going through, feel free to contact me. I have to tell you that my son is 25 yrs old and is a store manager in OKC. My daughter gradutes HS this spring. She is on the honor roll and will be attending University this fall. There IS LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.

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J.

answers from St. Louis on

C.
You are definately not alone. Many children are showing these types of symptoms...it seems to be a trend. However, I cannot encourage you enough to find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area. We are in Belleville, IL...but I don't know where you are. There is a ton of research and many testimonials of children who stabilized under chiropractic care. Please let me know if you need one-on-one help.
Have a fantastic day with your little blessing
J.

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J.R.

answers from Kansas City on

Get a second opinion. It seems that if it were up to the doctors lately everyone would have a kid that was adhd or bipolar or ld or add. Doctors are too quik to diagnos a child with an illness that in the long run the meds for that diagnosis could possibly damage the child more than living life with the attitude problem. Drs know alot, but they don't know everything.

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A.S.

answers from St. Louis on

C.,

I would agree with what many of the other women have said... seek a second opinion! We used to foster a little girl that I swore was bi-bolar at age 9. I spoke with her therapist on many occasions about it due to the fact that she would lash out and not remember (very common in bi-polar). They do not like to diagnose bi-polar in children. In her case it was a traumatic experience as a child that caused her to act this way. Your son may be affected by his father not being there more than you really understand. The little girl we had would not talk to me about her father or mother or what had happened while she was little (I had known the family for years) but she would talk to her school teacher.
I would definitely seek another physicians advice. Good luck, I know it can be tough!

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