• Keeping Friends

The worth of friends who have been there

Published: September 21, 2007 | Last Updated: May 17, 2020 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

Some of the problems life hurls to us are so complicated and overwhelming that they are hard for our closest friends and family to understand. When those problems affect our children, it leaves parents feeling particularly vulnerable and alone.

Such was the case for the Janice Bonis and her husband who couldn’t figure out how to help their son, Michael. There was no shortage of well-meaning, but ill-advised advice, from those around them. Some told them to be more lenient; others told them to be more strict…

Michael’s mom only found answers and learned how to ask the right questions when she reached out to new friends in an internet chat room sponsored by the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. She finally found people who had been there, having experienced similar problems in their own families.

The forthright and courageous story of this family, which I had the privilege of writing, What’s Happening to Our Son?, appears in the October 2007 issue of Reader’s Digest.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Irene says:

    Dear Anonymous:

    I completely agree with you that the most important thing a parent can do, when their child is experiencing serious emotional or behavioral problems, is get their child to a well-trained child psychiatrist for an accurate evaluation and diagnosis.

    As you point out, it is sometimes difficult to find child psychiatrists because they are so few in number and can often be far-between depending on where you live. That’s where internet support groups can be invaluable—in helping parents identify docs and in assisting them in finding ones that have been helpful to other families.

    I was delighted that Reader’s Digest allowed me to write about this important public health problem that is often misunderstood and stigmatized—and also that the Bonis family was so courageous and honest. Thanks for your post!


  2. Anonymous says:

    I am writing both as an adult living with bipolar disorder and a mental health professional who sees children in our local hospital’s ER, on consult.

    This issue, Bipolar Disorder in children, is so huge. I just attended a conference through Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which addressed this very important and difficult topic. Proper diagnosis is so critical, and yet so difficult for parents to get.

    In Pennsylvania, where I live and work, in a smaller city, the number if child psychiatrists and child psychologists has dwindled. We have no child or adolescent psychiatric units in the county I live in any longer.

    I would suggest to any parent dealing with any of the issues addressed in this reader’s digest story to get your child to a well trained and respected psychiatrist for a proper and thorough evaluation. Your child may or may not have a formal diagnosis, but you owe it to yourself and your child to get a good evaluation for your child,and if necessary a second opinion.

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