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Bi Polar Two Year Old

Hi I'm a stay at home mom to a 35 month old.  She is very intelligent.  She can carry on conversations with adults and make sense, she is potty trained, she can count and knows her colors and ABC's.  

Recently she has started developing some VERY frustrating behavior.  
*Every morning, instead of waking me up (she used to come climb into bed with me every morning), she likes to get into my makeup, play with my computer, get into the art supplies.  EVERY morning.  Yesterday she ate my boyfriend's valentine.  
*She has a very big attitude.  Sometimes when I ask her to do something she says no.  When my boyfriend asks her to do something, she says 'You're not my mom/dad'.  I've been with him for 10 months and she hasn't seen her dad in over a year!  
*She runs away from me when I'm trying to do something like her hair.  
*She acts like she doesn't know how to do things that she's done forever like get dressed.  She'll beg for help and say 'I'm not trying to do it" (hate that one) and when we finally give in and go to help her she screams at us and says 'NO!!! Let me do it"!  
*Some days she will have up to four accidents but they are on purpose.  She just stands in FRONT of the toilet and pees.  
*She goes up to my boyfriend and hits him for no reason sometimes.  

Other side of the coin:  Around people other than family, she is a dream child.  An angel.  One who says please and thank you and returns compliments with compliments.  One who has table manners and likes to share.  One who is always nice and always smiling.  People think we're crazy when we say that she is a terror!!

Here's a bit of a background:  I am 25 years old.  Her dad is 23.  We were together for the first 20 months of her life.  We did have a lot of problems.  We fought a lot and he drank a lot.  He was sometimes neglectful of her when I was at work but nothing too major.  One of the things I give himlots of credit for is the love he gave her.  He treated us poorly but there was never any question how much he loved her.  There was never any abuse towards her.  Sexual, mental or physical.  He was very mentally abusive towards me.  We left him December of 2009 and moved back to Washington from Wisconsin.  He stayed.  They talk inconsistently, 4 months being the longest with no contact.  
After we came home, we had nothing besides all our stuff so we were moving a lot.  We were in a women's abuse shelter, then a friends house, then another friends house.  Currently we live in a fifth wheel and have for about 9 months.  The same one. I was also working full time and she was in daycare until recently when I got laid off.
Well, my boyfriend came into the picture about 10 months ago.  He didn't live with us until 7 months ago.  He has little experience with kids and none with girls.  He adores her so much and it's obvious but when she is behaving like she does, he has no idea how to deal with it.  

I am pretty sure I have an idea what is causing some of this.  Inconsistency.  She has had a lot happen in her short life and things got kind of crazy for a while with her dad.  The behavior started getting worse when she stopped going to daycare.  She tells me all the time she wants to go back to school but the only way that can happen is if I get on welfare and do their work search program.  Thing is: I don't NEED welfare.  I am not looking for work.  We are going to be moving into a real home soon because now we can afford it.

So I guess my question is what do we do?  Do we just do the best we can and hope this is a phase or does she need counseling of some sort?  He agreed to go to parenting classes with me if they agree with his work schedule.  He really loves us and tries really hard.  It's just that when I don't know what to do, he REALLY doesn't know what to do.  He doesn't feel comfortable stepping in as a father figure because she still talks to her dad but he is 1400 miles away.  He doesn't want to raise someone else's child a different way than they would but ultimately, her father has no say in her life.  I listen to his feelings but he doesn't help us in any way.  He doesn't pay child support, he rarely even calls.  

So what do we do?
3 Responses
Avatar universal
I doubt very much that your daughter is bi-polar.  She sounds like a normal (albeit confused from her life situations) two-year old.  Your daughter has a father - whether he is a large part of her life or not - he is her father (after all, you chose him).  The boyfriend is not her father and should not be expected to act as such.  Frankly, from what you have written, it appears that your boyfriend is planning on helping you raise this child but the main responsibility will always lie with you.

I don't know if this is a "phase" or not, but if and when your living/life situation becomes more "stable", I suspect this child will be just "fine".  Besides, haven't you heard of the "terrible twos" before?  Chilidren always behave the worst with those whom they feel are the safest.  Oh - if you think this is bad, wait until she is a teenager (LOL).  So what to do?  Probably just what you are - giving this child love and and in the future, stability in her life.  All the best  ...
Avatar universal
One additional thought - some say the "terrible twos" should be called the "terrible threes".
Avatar universal
I think this sounds pretty normal.  Plus she has had a lot go on in her short life I would just try to keep things as stable as possible.  I think it would be normal she would try not to listen to the boyfriend. He;s not the father.
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