As we continue on our 5 part series about coping with bipolar as a child or as that child’s parent/loved one, I’m going to switch gears a bit from all the angry/violent mania to something a little more up beat. As in too up beat. As in HAPPY mania. Otherwise known as a hyper kid. A REALLY Hyper. Manic episodes which travel to the euphoric side of the spectrum can be equally as trying to manage as the ones where the child is angry and abusive. And as our question read …
“My 8 yr old grand daughter has … ADHD … mixed with severe mood swings [And] it is … extremely difficult to work with a child like this when they are manic.”
… trying to get anything accomplished with a kid who’s talking a million miles a minute about his future trip to the moon while also hopping up and down with a very even, very annoying beat, can be nearly impossible. Getting them to get dressed even gets to be a task at that point.
Similar to the previous situations, I like to practice redirection in these moments of nail scratching happiness. It’s much easier said than done, especially if the child is hyper-focused on one thing like talking about a video game or a new toy they want from the store. That doesn’t mean it’s completely unattainable. But, like always it, takes a great deal of patience and composure. Two things which are hard to hold on while listening to the fifteenth rendition of Sponge Bob Square Pants.
Redirection can have one of two results.
1. It works
2. You really piss the kid off
That is why you need to choose your words wisely and redirect the child to something they will actually be interested. You can’t really say, “Please stop singing that song. Here, have some carrots instead!” (Unless that child is my daughter who thinks brussle sprouts are practically candy *proud mom face*)
And it’s almost always going to fail if you try appealing to them with a mediocre redirection. “Honey, why don’t you go play with the legos that Grandma bought you two Christmases ago instead of jumping up and down while trying to pretend my couch is trampoline?” Sure, the kid probably loves legos, but unless they are brand spanking new … chances are he’s not going to care. He can do that at any time. But right now is the only time he can pretend he’s a flying monkey trying to catch up with the indifferent witch of the north west.
Like the chores that I only let the kids do once in a great while, I also have a treasure trove of activities and toys I only bring out when absolutely necessary. At times like these it may be your only defense. Here’s a list of items you can store away for a hyper day (they say rainy day … I’ll stick with hyper day) …
Certain games that take a great deal of time to play and pick up (Life, Stratego, Monopoly, etc.)
That one movie that last week they were “too young” to watch but suddenly it seems okay *wink*.
Do manicures … expect the nail polish to be a little … outside the lines?
Take a walk to the park (Great place to get rid of some of that energy)
Pretty much anything that can get the child to slow down for a minute and calm their – most likely racing – minds, yet also keep their complete attention.
Redirection is an art really. It takes time to master. It takes knowing the child well enough to know what will distract them. But once perfected, it may just become your best friend.
And if all else fails … if you can’t beat em, join em! “Hey kid, let’s go jump on my bed instead of the couch. You can get more air!”