As with Alcoholics, children of Bipolar parents are at a great risk. The children are not exposed to a consistent emotional environment. There is also a greater risk of blaming the children for the disorder, putting the children into a guilt trip. We tend to be over-protective and yet at the same time unable to bond with them. For a parent it can be brutal as we distant ourselves from the child and at the same time know we are doing it. Being a BP parent, we may fail at providing an example of good parenting so as the child becomes an adult, he/she doesn’t have the tools to be a good parent themselves. All of this negative affect is generally only when the parent is not in treatment. If in recovery for Bipolar disorder and responding well to treatment, the parent can be a good parent. If the bipolar parent is in a marriage/relationship with his/her partner, there can be a good balance.
When is it time to tell the children? If the recovery is in a good phase and the children are old enough, 10-12 is a good age, we can tell them about our disorder. I have talked to all three of my sons. Unfortunately, it was to late for my oldest son who is now 24 doesn’t talk to me. I was
not there for him during the “important” teenage years. I have been able to salvage the relationships with the younger two.
Forgiveness is what it is all about for me. I have forgiven myself and so have 2 of my sons. Today I live a normal life as a parent. But I have worked hard to get here, but it is attainable! Medicine, therapy and a great support group and network has allowed me a second chance at
Andrew is a DBSA Support Group Director for a Long Island NY chapter. He runs two groups for Mood disorder Sufferers and their families. He is also an administrator for a Facebook group for BP Disorder called Rockin the Bipolar coaster. He is 51, with 3 children. He was diagnosed Bipolar, when in his early 30’s. He also suffers from Paranoia personality Disorder and is a recovering crack and opiate (or simply drug) addict.