Your Child’s Bipolar Illness Can Put Your Marriage On The Rocks

Bipolar disorder can be seen in any child of any age.  And very much like that of an adult, they have mood swings, from mania to depression, and they can be violent as well.


“It is not realistic for a couple to agree on everything, and if I met a couple who said they did, I wouldn’t believe them,” said Dr. Jesse D. Matthews, PsyD.

Our Son Is Our Treasure We Almost Lost To Bipolar Illness

My husband and I waited for years before our first child was born.  The happiness that we felt the very moment we found out that I was pregnant was beyond words.  We did everything to make ours and the baby’s journey through my pregnancy smooth sailing, something that we handled with excitement and care for the baby. We already felt how much we loved him even though he was still inside me.

When he came into the world, we were very thankful that he was healthy and he seemed like a happy baby.  Like other excited parents, we documented every progress of his growth, his every first – first baby talk, first steps, first run, and the first day of school.  We tried to give him everything that sometimes we were warned by friends and relatives that he might grow up to be a spoiled kid.

While in grade school, his teachers noticed some mood swings, and then he started exhibiting violent behaviors toward his classmates and with one of his teachers.  He can be very unruly when he’s home, but I never thought he would be unmanageable even in school.  The school summoned us multiple times, and we were requested to undergo some counseling with him, and so we did but to no avail, I guess.

According to Sheila Kamen, PsyD, “What counts in making a happy marriage is not how compatible two people are, but how they deal with the incompatibilities in their marriage.”


My husband is the disciplinarian type, and he and my kid started to have fights about his attitude, especially the way he disrespects us and others.  Of course, I would come to my son’s rescue.  I tried to tell my husband not to be too hard on our son as this could just be a phase, or just the result of us showering him with so much attention and material things and too much pampering.

Things got worse in school and in our house.  There were days when my son would not come out of his room and days when he would flee and wander the streets at night when he was unable to sleep.  These things made my husband mad for real that often we end up having an argument.   I can feel that slowly he is becoming distant not just from our child but me as well.

How Counseling Helped Us Save The Marriage And Our Son

The everyday fighting, arguments, me siding my son, his always coming home late and becoming less and less caring had added to my burden.  I felt like I was all alone looking after my son and supporting him.   I felt deserted by my husband.

I sought counsel, and during the session, I mentioned how my son’s behavior would be the cause of our disagreements.  Our relationship started to turn sour since my son became uncontrollable.   My counselor advised that I have my son checked as she sensed that there’s something wrong with him, and so I followed her advice.  She recommended a doctor, and we visited him.  After a few visits, the doctor confirmed that my son has bipolar disorder.  His tantrums, insomnias, eloping behaviors, especially his violent acts are not just about puberty or being a spoiled kid after all.

I explained this to my husband, and I can see clearly from the way he looked that he felt like a loser for having a son with such disorder.  I encouraged him that maybe it would be better if we both undergo counseling and also bring our son to a therapist who specializes in children with bipolar disorder.   It’s hard convincing him, but after some time, he agreed to come with me.  The therapist explained to us our family’s complicated situation – how it can ruin our relationship as husband and wife if we will focus on its adverse effect in our lives, how it can destroy their relationship as father and son, and what will eventually happen if my husband continues to give our son the cold shoulder and just imposing punishments without hearing him out.


Slowly, with the help of our counselors and our son’s therapist, my husband learned to embrace our situation.   He has participated in the interventions my son needed to reduce or even avoid his mania and depressions.   He now knows how to handle the circumstances correctly, and the best part is that we are now in this together.  Though there are still times when he runs out of patience, he can readily shift back when I remind and calm him down.

Managing a kid with bipolar disorder can put any marriage on the rocks, especially if the kid is not yet diagnosed, and the parents are just focusing on his misconducts.

Rowdy behaviors are part of the childhood and teenage years.  It’s natural for them to feel irritable, angry, hyperactive, rebellious sometimes.  However, if these behaviors have gone severe, becoming out of control, and causing problems especially between your relationship as couples, it may mean more than just undergoing a phase in life.

Lauren Dalton-Stern, LPCC said “Having a strong and fulfilling relationship is absolutely possible when both partners are committed to working as a team and creating a supportive, encouraging and accepting environment.”

Comments are closed.