BiPolar dx in children is hard, it takes on many different forms of other mental illness and there is not a lot of research on it. My d sister is looking into it for her step son. The bio-mother is bipolar.
On a quick side note - friends of our took their dd to a phych doc for evaluation and they had to fill out questions separately and the teachers as a well. The doc did her 2 day test in 1 and then came back with a dx of Aspergers -- frankly I've known this girl since she was born and she does not have Aspergers as I know and see it in other children. The family also does not want to even consider dietary changes to help their daughter -- dx, drugs, finished...
Back to my sister - The boy has school issues, is in special ed. due to behavior issues. Can not complete assignments, is not on grade level etc. 1 school system ruled out ADD or ADHD. I think my sister is still focused on him completing work and catching up rather than getting a dx, teaching him life skills and setting up funding for him after they are gone. The boy will not ever hold a job or live on his own. I think aside from a phycological issue he is slightly mentally retarded.
The dad is in total denial that there is anything wrong with his kids. And really has not had the interaction he should have had to get answers, the boy is 10 now I think and the size of my super skinny 7 yr old. He hangs his head all the time and never looks up, his eyes move to the up possition, but never his head. This says mental impairment to me clearer than a bell by my ear!
I was asked to watch the kids and this is when the problems came to light more than just dad not disiplining correctly. This is when we the rest of the family became aware that my sister had really taken on more than she can or should have to handle. Something would start to set of the boy and then he would become violent, picking up furniture to throw it across the room, hit, push down, use curse words etc. I physically had to restrain him from behind holding his arms crossed over his chest to prevent him from physically harming my children or me while I restrained him. He then went into a repeat phrase thing and jerked, "punk" over and over and over again. On another occassion, same day it was "quit your crying you're 6". He started with that toward my 2 yr old and it developed into him attempting to take everything off of a table top and do an arm swipe which I stopped and then had to again with physical restraint b/c he became violent at me for stopping his rage against the table items. I physically had to restrain him 4 times that day before 4 pm. My sister took over the last time as I had lost my footing.
I continued to watch him closely to determine what sets him off. I could tell it was over stimulous some of the time as in too much going on, but not all the time restaurants he was fine, at the wedding he was fine, at home he was not and at school he is not always. He would also as a relief (I think) sit as close to the tv as possible and turn the volume up quite high.
My parents who are educators both witnessed me and my sister wrestle this boy to the ground during our visit. My sister who works with kids has been reading and researching everything she can find. We just do not know what is wrong with him. I'm no dummy either as I did my fare share of teaching and studying children and now I have 3 who are only a bit younger than my sister's step children. We are all at a loss. It's going to take the right person who has seen this behavior before to help my sister get on the right track to finding a dx and getting him help.
Now the first evening I met him I thought it was all in my sister's head, how do I disipline him is the phone call I get all the time. I watched the dad say "name of child, please come sit down, please" over and over again, begging the child to sit at the restaurant. I'm sorry you don't ask and beg and plead with a child, you make it authoritive. This has to start early at by age 10 it isn't an issue. I give mandatos and my children listen for the most part. "it's time to sit down for dinner" -- no issue, they sit down. My sister said they were told by the school to ask him and plead with him --
: OKAY... But it isn't working so now what???
So the mother may know things that go on at home that are bipolar in nature, she may also be making it all up as she herself is obviously not mentally well being bipolar.