About Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

Support for Parents

Learn all you can about bipolar disorder. Read, join support networks, and network. Not surprisingly, other parents are often a good source of ideas and strategies for parenting a bipolar child.

Childhood is a window of opportunity in which parents have the chance to provide treatment that may profoundly benefit their children’s development and save their children’s lives. When your child becomes a legal adult, state laws on privacy and individual rights may exclude you from participating in treatment decisions and from talking with the professionals who treat your child. Help establish now as firm a foundation as possible for your child to reach adulthood and be able to make sound independent judgments.

We know that learning and confronting that one's child has bipolar disorder is traumatic and often follows an extended period of instability, school difficulties, and damaged relationships with family and friends. More positively, however, diagnosis can and should be a turning point for everyone concerned. Once the illness is identified, energies can be directed toward treatment, education, and developing coping strategies. Proper treatment can minimize the adverse effects of the illness on your child and the lives of those who love your child.

We hope this article, and the rest of the The Balanced Mind Parent Network Web site, will save you precious time and help you make the many decisions you face as parents so that your children achieve stability, gain the best possible level of wellness, and grow up to enjoy their gifts and build upon their strengths.

© The Balanced Mind Parent Network, 2007, 2010

About BP was produced by Martha Hellander (J.D.), Sheila McDonald (J.D.), Lisa Pedersen (M.A.), and Susan Resko (M.M.) all of whom have been there.

1 Luby J, Belden A. Defining and validating bipolar disorder in the preschool period.  Dev Psychopathol. 2006 Fall;18(4):971-88.
2 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision.Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Singh MK, Delbello MP, Kowatch RA, Strakowski SM.  Co-occurrence of bipolar and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders in children.  Bipolar Disord. 2006 Dec;8(6):710-20
4 Geller B, Tillman R, Craney JL, Bolhofner K.  Four-year prospective outcome and natural history of mania in children with a prepubertal and early adolescent bipolar disorder phenotype. Archives of General Psychiatry.  2004 May;61(5):459-67
5 Geller B, Tillman R, Bolhofner K, Zimerman B, Strauss NA, Kaufmann P. Controlled, blindly rated, direct-interview family study of a prepubertal and early-adolescent bipolar I disorder phenotype: morbid risk, age at onset, and comorbidity. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;63(10):1130-8.
6 Birmaher B, Axelson D, Strober M, Gill MK, Valeri S, Chiappetta L, Ryan N, Leonard H, Hunt J, Iyengar S, Keller M. Clinical course of children and adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;63(2):175-83.
7 National Institute of Mental Health, Web site accessed July 3, 2007:http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2006/largest-study-to-date-on-pediatric-bipolar-disorder-describes-disease-characteristics-and-short-term-outcomes.shtml
8 McGuffin P, Rijsdijk F, Andrew M, et al.  The heritability of bipolar affective disorder and the genetic relationship to unipolar depression.  Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003 May;60(5):497-502.
Carmen Moreno; Gonzalo Laje; Carlos Blanco; Huiping Jiang; Andrew B. Schmidt; Mark Olfson Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64:1032-1039

Last updated: June 4, 2014


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