The teenage period is the phase of one’s life where he or she gets attracted to the opposite sex. Teens start to become curious about how it is to date someone special. They have the illusion of a perfect relationship and a perfect partner. It’s the time of their lives when they thought they are ready, but they really are not.
“If you think you may be experiencing bipolar disorder, a licensed psychotherapist can help you sort out whether or not your symptoms signal the presence of bipolar or another disorder according to recognized criteria.” – Lauren Pedersen, LMFT
Opening A New Door Called Dating
Bipolar kids are no exemption. They may be suffering from some kind of mental issues, but they, too, feel the same. They, too, get attracted to the opposite sex, and they, too, have the right to date. But sometimes, when they go on a date with the wrong people, they are left more broken. This is what parents of bipolar kids fear the most. No parents would want to see their kids getting hurt.
This is the time when a bipolar teenage kid needs her parents’ guidance more. Parents should be ready and aware of what to do and not do when their teenager with bipolar disorder starts to date.
- Have an open communication line. Learn how to communicate with your teenager. Understand that she has mood swings and be aware if she is already in that state.
- Help her recognize and understand that she has bipolar disorder. In that case, she will be aware and can make a wise decision regarding sex and relationship choices.
- When she starts dating, be always available. Explain to her in a way that she will understand that not all dates will run as smoothly as she expects them to be. Whatever happens, be her rock.
- When she introduces her date, be kind whether you like him or not. You can always set rules in a respectful way. You have to trust your teenager since you already had a heart-to-heart talk.
- Lend her your ears. Listen to her every story. Sometimes, you don’t need to reply. Also, it is essential that you never react negatively. Have a happy conversation and show her that you are supportive of her. Be excited for her.
- Touch of affection is very important. Caress her hands to give her a sense of security. This is like telling her, “You can trust me with your secrets.”
- Be attentive. It is important that you sense signs of danger and abuse (i.e., physical abuse, depression, etc.) Learn when it’s time for you to intervene in the proper manner. Talk to the guy or, better yet, seek help. Do it in a way that your child will not get hurt.
- Lend her your shoulders. Let her know that no matter what happens, your two shoulders are broad enough for her to lean and cry on.
- If things are not going well for your kid, watch out for signs of depression. When she starts to become uncontrollable or you think your child is in crisis, call the doctor immediately. This is one of those crucial times when she needs you the most.
“When people court one another and start building relationship, questions start to arise about how to build a life together.” – Daniel Gaztambide, PSYD
It could be one of the most awkward conversations you’ll have, but you have to be her guide and support. She must hear it from you rather than search on the Internet on how it is to date or be in a relationship.
Dating can make or break her, especially when she meets people who are less understanding about bipolar disorder and people who have it. The stigma of having a bipolar disorder is very hurting mostly to teenagers who are starting to date. More often than not, once a bipolar teenager admits about her illness, she will either be left in the dark, abused, or become a laughing stock.
It’s Not Your Fault
As a parent, you should be ready for this. It is essential that you explain to your teenager that when things don’t turn out well, it’s not her fault.
The problem is not her. People sometimes decide to leave because they can’t take on the challenge. All they want is an easy life. “If a person truly loves you, he will accept you as you are. He will be understanding of the situation and will stay by your side to empathize with you and encourage you to get well.”
There is no perfect relationship but you can have a healthy one.
“For teenagers, you’ll see their anxiety expressed more outwardly. It’s normal for them to want their own space and start developing relationships with others” – Jennifer Walton, MA, LPC, LCPC