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My step daughter's Mom is bipolar, along with having other mental health issues. How/When do you help the child understand why Mom acts so different?

We have the child 1/2 the time. The biological Mom exhibits very difficult behavior - - often angry and vengeful at one time and then all loving and kissing the next. Some days, she will call/text the child 8-9 times, wanting to know every move or activity that the child is doing at our house. It is difficult for me to deal with. So, I can only imagine what must be going through the mind of my step-daughter. How do we help her understand the situation? I want to help her - - But, I don't believe it is my place to have the discussion with her about her Mom.
Anyone have this situation? Looking for suggestions.

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Asked by DebY3494 at 6:51 PM on Mar. 10, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 2 (7 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • I commend you for taking the time to even THINK about it.  I don't have any step children so I will speak from personal experience.  My mom, among a lot of other things, had problems exactly what you just described.  I was ALWAYS confused.  Now I wish that someone had sat me down and explained what was going on with her.  However, the repercussions of you having that discussion with her might not be so great.  What if the mom finds out?  She could take it as you bad mouthing her to the child.  Very hard situation.


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 7:04 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • It might have to be your place if no one else explains it. My father is unipolar(for the people who don't know it's a very severe depressive disorder) all anyone ever told me was daddy's not doing well when the man had crying spells that lasted days and even his suicide attempts over the years were ineffectively hidden from my brother and I. Believe me she knows somethings up with mom already,but if you really feel that it's not your place I would suggest a counselor or even a religious advisor (ie priest,bishop,pastor most have some backround in counseling people and it's free and not something that the other parent has to be informed of) might be able to answer questions better and help her cope.

    Answer by lizziebreath at 7:22 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Well first off consider her age, the children's REAL ages, not the internet ages. lol : ) grin Now couple that with how much mothering she has accumulated for the raising of these children, and add the current economic situation, times that with unhappy relatives, and people's differences, (I'm just sayin') I know we all .........need to lighten up, and just be silent at times. Eveyone lighten up, we'll all get our chance, and this too shall be a thing of the past if it's really all that bad to begin with. Pheeeewwwwsh!!!!

    Answer by coffeeyum at 7:27 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I appreciate the insights. I wish this was REALLY not that bad..... I didn't even begin to describe some of the bizarre behavior that is being demonstrated. For some additional background, the child is 13 - - so may be not really a "child", but definitely one in terms of this issue. I have been her 'other Mom" for over 7 years. We have had a great relationship before, but difficult lately. Part of that is just the age -- I know. But, want to be there when she needs someone.

    Comment by DebY3494 (original poster) at 6:39 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

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