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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Statistics show that if one parent has bipolar disorder the chance of a child developing bipolar disorder goes up somewhat, to somewhere around 10-20%. If both parents are bipolar, the likelihood that a child will develop bipolar disorder at some point in their life approaches 50%.

I have a good friend who frequently likes to tell me how fortunate I am not to have children, because, after all, if I did, they’d probably be screwed up.  Now, I know my friend sounds mean, but she’s not.  She is certainly blunt, but has good intentions.  She has two teenagers, and when they were little, their dad suffered from deep depression and “flat-lined” emotionally.  Therefore, he had little interaction with them, and they were primarily raised by their incredibly stressed-out mom, my friend.  She recalls feeling like a “single mom” during that period.

And now her kids are, in her words, “screwed up.”  She begs and pleads with me not to have children, and she may very well get her wish, due to medical reasons.  But it does dredge up a painful issue for me.

Growing up, I dreamed of having a husband and a couple of kids.  I was your typical girl in that respect.  Long before the thought of writing books ever entered my mind, I knew I wanted to be a mom.  Now I’m 29 years old and my husband is 37 and I hear the clock ticking.

But having biological children seems so risky.  I wouldn’t wish my bipolar on my worst enemy, so how is it any better taking a chance on your kids inheriting it?  So I figure, well, I can always adopt.  But is it fair to raise a child with the roller coaster of emotions that is bipolar?

Is bipolar a sentence for loneliness and dreams lost?  When all the little pamphlets say that people with BP can live “happy, productive” lives, does that mean happy and productive by mentally ill standards?

Is trying to have a normal life too risky and dangerous?

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Those of you that know me personally are aware that my 14-year-old niece recently got herself into some pretty hefty trouble, and for a while there it looked like she would be moving in with Scott and I.  Well, fortunately, that didn’t happen, but it seems that my niece has already lost sight of what she did.  I had a lengthy, somewhat tense text message session with her tonight and she’s angry because her dad won’t give her the freedom that she wants.  Really, truth be told, she has a lot more freedom than I would have given her if she had moved in here, but because she can’t have everything her way, she’s ticked.

Over the past year, I’ve written a lot of radio spots for the Shaunti Feldhahn/Lisa Rice book, For Parents Only.
The book goes into a teenager’s need for freedom quite in-depth, and equates the drive for freedom to an addiction to cocaine.  They want it, they crave it, and they’ll do anything to keep it.

I try so hard to remember how I was at that age, and to remember the feelings and frustrations.  But when you’re almost 30, it’s easy to lose that perspective.  Sometimes all I see is a little brat, when what is really before me is a young woman trying to figure out who she is.  And after all, I did so many dumb things when I was her age.  I ditched school all the time, never did my homework, dates jerks, and on top of all that I was bipolar and didn’t know it.  I was a real dream of a kid, lemmetellya.

But when I was 14, I met a guy on the internet.  He seemed nice.  I was young, and I trusted too easily.
I would up being raped at the county park in a pile of leaves.

So, in my mind, yes, my little girl needs to grow up and make mistakes and learn from them, but when I think about the kind of mistakes she could make. well…

If you’ve got a  teenager in your life, pray hard.  It’s a big, scary world they’re all just dying to dive into.

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