10 September 2012

Bipolar Parenting: from the perspective of the parent

Seeing as I've had it both ways I decided to share my personal thoughts and feelings about this subject. I started with Bipolar Parenting: From the perspective of the child

The way I was parented made me super sensitive to the way that I parent my own child. It still doesn't make it easy.

Any parent will know you don't always know what is the right, healthiest and less damaging course of action, and when you add uncontrollable mood swings to the mix it can becomes super volatile.

I've tried loads of different parenting techniques, discipline techniques, and read a multitude of studies ( mostly contradictory), opinion pieces, personal perspectives, and the like. I still felt completely at a loss of how to raise my daughter to be a great, responsible, honest and loving person.

At the moment I'm focusing more on consistency trying to take the road of more attention and love, while setting guidelines for behaviour. I'm completely anti-spanking, because I believe with my issues that is one of the most harmful things that was done to me as a child.

My daughter could possibly be bipolar herself, although I really don't want to label her this early. She's quite emotionally sensitive and moody herself, and has an extremely strong will. I like her individualism though so I will not break her will. I don't need to always be right as a parent. I want us both to grow and learn from each other.

I also don't want to raise a spoiled brat, but I do think life has ways of sorting those out eventually.

At times when I am emotionally distant I have to be aware and not be unnecessarily cruel in my dealings with both my daughter and husband. It's easier then for me to be dismissive of their feelings and desires, as I am of my own when I am in those moods. I know to watch for this, but it is hard.

At times when I am irritable and frustrated and angry for no good reason I need to have extreme control of my actions, if not my emotions in order for it to not bleed through in my interactions. This is one thing I struggle with greatly.

At times when I'm depressed, and tired and I only want to sleep I really feel sorry for them because they have to try and cope without me. This is hard on me and my daughter. Because negative self talk is a huge part of my extreme depressions, I beat myself up about what a terrible parent I am at these times. There's not much I can do when I'm in it though, so I try my best to prevent the depression by sticking to my drug regiment and routine.

It's challenging to be a parent at the best of times, and even more so when one has to deal with ones own recurring issues. Knowing this now I understand why a lot of people don't think one should have children if one is bipolar. At the same time there is so much I have learnt from being a parent. So much I have grown and loved, that I wouldn't want to exchange that for anything.

Parenting has also brought up a lot of hurt and damage from my own childhood and I struggle to deal with it. This is why I got help, why I'm doing the drugs and getting the therapy. Not all of it is strictly because of bipolar disorder. A lot of it is other issues, and all of it goes way back, and most of it I'd prefer stayed buried. I don't want to be stuck in the past, I don't want to live a life where I keep blaming my parents or my childhood. I want to move forward, and live and be happy. It seems I need to get through the crappy past before I can do that though.

All of this inspires me even more to be the best parent that I can be. To read, put in the effort, research, figure out what is best for my child and do everything I can to not be a crappy messed up parent, despite the Bipolar Disorder.

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