• Quote of the Day
    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,769
Points
113
Shaping Expectations for Children with Bipolar Disorder
by G.J. Gregory
Friday, October 13th, 2006

There is something about raising a child with bipolar disorder to teach a person tolerance and compassion. To be truly honest, they are qualities I was lacking prior to raising our son Kyle, who suffers from bipolar disorder.

I was raised in a home where we were told we could accomplish anything, and the value of hard work was ingrained in us. Great qualities, but it made me judgemental. If a person didn?t succeed, they didn?t want it enough, or didn?t work hard enough to accomplish it. The fact that there might be a legitimate barrier to ?success? was a concept I just couldn?t grasp.

Then my career developed. As you might imagine, with bipolar disorder there were some successes, and some dismal failures. I couldn?t understand why, when success appeared imminent, I did something to sabotage it. I truly thought it was a matter of being in the wrong career, that I subconsciously didn?t want to succeed as I didn?t like my career. This led to several career changes, with similar results. As I matured and learned my true strengths and weaknesses, what I could effectively do and what I couldn?t, I started to enjoy enough stability to enable me to hold a job. But I still wasn?t aware of my condition, and had never even heard of bipolar disorder.

When Kyle was growing up, I was exceptionally hard on him, and this is something I will regret forever. I pushed him in the same way my parents pushed me, telling him he could accomplish anything, as he was brilliant and could work hard. Unbeknownst to me, I was setting him up for a lifetime of frustration. He is embarrassed that he hasn?t lived up to my expectations, and feels like a failure because he hasn?t ?succeeded?. Since then I?ve gone too far the other way, and he?s now frustrated that I expect nothing from him. He feels like a failure accordingly. Truth be known, for Kyle day to day living is so difficult, I want nothing for him but happiness.

I remember the turning point of my life. An old friend , a college buddy I?ve stayed in touch with over the years, is a state trooper. He?s had training in mental issues, and is also a youth expert, being active in his state?s DARE program. We were talking one evening, and I was telling him about Kyle. He told me it sounded like Kyle had something called bipolar disorder. I had never heard of it, and later that night I told my wife about our discussion. She was familiar with it, and suspected this already. Kyle had been in counseling for a few years, and the counselor also suspected it. But my wife knew, and correctly so, that due to my mindset I would not be able to embrace the concept of a mental condition. And up until then she was correct. But my mind had opened up a little bit on that night.

As time went on, my knowledge of the condition increased, and I began to understand Kyle a little better. In so doing, I began to accept others, and my way of viewing life began to change. Success, in the way I defined it, was NOT possible for everyone. Success is relative to the person and their abilities. Now the challenge is to change the mindset I instilled in Kyle throughout his life, and get him to accept this also.

Oh, to be able to correct our mistakes of the past?
 

Latest posts


Top Bottom