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Tips for Parents of Bipolar Teens


Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

You may be feeling like you've been put through the wringer, but now that your teenager has a bipolar disorder diagnosis, it is time to work at returning your relationship with your teen to normalcy. Here are some tips that will help:

Drop any guilt you may be having. It is not your fault your teen is suffering from bipolar disorder. You did not do anything that resulted in this. Let go of any blame you may have so you can get on with loving and parenting your child.

Work with your teenager's doctors. While you may not agree with everything they are doing, take a deep breath and trust them. Give yourself time to get over any shock - or any other strong emotion - the diagnosis may have caused before making any major changes in your teen's care.

Educated yourself. Learn more about bipolar and how to keep connected to your teen. If your teen is on medication, understand the side effects and make any necessary changes in your family's schedule. I remember one teen I had in my care who was on a certain medication that blocked his hunger and he was losing weight. It was a known side-effect that I spoke to his doctor about. He was only hungry right before his next dose. So, I would allow large sandwiches as snacks even though it was only an hour until dinner because by the time dinner rolled around, he wasn't hungry at all. This simple tweak in the home schedule made for much nicer evenings and a boy who continued to physically grow in a normal manner.

Ask yourself some tough questions and see your own doctor. Bipolar disorder is genetic. If you find yourself having problems with depression or manic behavior, you should talk to your doctor as well. You need to be at your best.

Seek family counseling if you feel you are unable to pull your family back to some normalcy. Strong families are the building block of one's confidence and independence. When a teen is suffering from a disorder like bipolar, a strong family is even more important. So, if you are having a hard time keeping the family on an even keel, get help by attending a family counseling session.

Doing all of these things will reassure your teen that you do not define them by the bipolar disorder, you love them and want the best for them. Still, remember to hug your teenager and share how much you love them as often as they will let you.

Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

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