Sunday, February 3, 2008

theraputic parenting

Whenever our youngest child starts showing his signs of RAD: the lack of eye contact, the anger, grades start dropping, defiance, I know it is time to step up the theraputic parenting. These are things I have learned in Attachment Therapy and also in books on RAD that I have read. If I mention I am doing this people ask what it is I do. They are very simple things that seem to make a world of difference. When I go wake him up in the morning I sit on his bed and rub his back for a minute. I know he is better when he snuggles instead of pulling away. I work for 12 hugs a day. Not necessarily huge bear hugs but often just quick little "good job" hugs or "glad to see you" hugs. I work at making eye contact often and smiling with my eyes when I talk with him. I try to touch his arm, shoulder or back when I talk to him. I make my voice soft and tender when giving instructions or even when discussing a behavior. I reassure him often that he is safe and that I will never leave. I realize none of this is rocket science, but if you have not added these behaviors to your day and have a child with RAD you might want to give it a try. It works for us. It is not a "cure" for RAD, our older child is still fighting me, but it helps. It tugs at their hearts and makes them stop and look at you a little differently. I can see it in their eyes. Mom's of children with RAD spend a lot of time being angry and frustrated. Burned out. Adding a little tenderness gets their attention and it will make you feel better about yourself too. It helps you know your kind self is still in there, helps soften your own anger a little and forces you to do the right thing even when you don't feel like it. Parenting kids with RAD is a tough job.


Renee said...

I have to remind myself to do that stuff when we are in the midst of all the crap. And it does exactly what you say.

Denise said...

Me too! You would think that showing love should always come easy, but when you've been taxed every second of every day by a child with a disorder such as RAD, it can be very difficult. It takes a lot of strength to remain calm and loving - and that is just what they need to see; that we are strong moms.