Monday, March 31, 2008

Lack of Conscience

This is the last listed symptom and the most disturbing of all. This is the symptom of a psychopath. The symptom listed in mall and high school shootings. This is the symptom which drives fear through the heart of every mother. I think I will just tell you my own feelings as a mom and then I will refer you to people who know what they are talking about : ) I personally believe there are different loves of conscience development. Some of my kids are very sensitive about doing "the right thing". Others only care about themselves. Some seem to be somewhere in between the two extremes. To me it boils down to empathy, love (secure attachment) and respect. When we show our children we understand how they feel, tune into their feelings and feel their hurt we show empathy. We show them love by our words, attitudes and actions. We show them respect when we care about their opinions and value them as a person. All of these things were missing for our children with RAD in their early years. So depending on the level of secure attachment they developed they do or do not have a conscience. OK, now Terry Levy wrote the book Attachment, Trauma, and Healing. It is a great book, some what clinical and very big, so read it when you have time and can concentrate! He goes into the development of the brain, personality, values of a child from prenatal on and explains in more depth about the development of conscience. It is really a process which begins prenatally with the development of the brain. All of our life experiences effect the way our brain develops. Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Dr. Daniel Amen also has great information on this. I am recommending books rather than telling you all background because we cannot change what has happened to our kids. We can change their future so let's focus on that. #1 Find an Attachment therapist. It is different than all other therapy. We tried a wide variety and this is the only thing that has helped. Spend time with your child each day snuggling, making eye contact becoming attuned to their feelings. They need to see you do it in order to learn how. Listen no matter how ridiculous or absurd what they are saying is, listen. Say back to them what you hear so they know you are listening. You do not have to agree. Teach them to listen to you, to repeat back your feelings. Let them know they do not have to agree but are practicing listening. Find something they are good at and help them to excel. This helps them them feel they really can accomplish great things. I am big on telling them what I want them to believe. My son and I are running together now. I know at this point it is not fun for him because nothing is fun for him. We are signed up for a fun run. He is my running buddy. I make a big deal of this. I am hoping this is an area he will learn to enjoy and excel in. It can be a life long activity. Our other son swims well competitively. I enjoy swimming laps with him and having him teach me strokes. I asked our youngest what he would like to start doing with me. He said biking. We will see. I don't even have a bike! (Do you see all 3 parts of a triathlon here? Spooky) The point is to find an activity to do together. To find activities they can learn to do better than the average person. They need to learn to work, to do it well. Doing chores daily teaches them to work as well as the value they have as part of the family. That is, if we tell them they are doing the chores because they are important to the family. They need to learn moral development. I believe my children learn this in their relationship with God. Some of my kids have a warped sense of who God is because they have a warped sense of love. It is a work in progress. To simplify:

1. Build a secure attachment(very hard work)

2. Empathy (I care about how you feel and am attuned to you)

3. Personal development (learn to excel at some activity, work hard)

4. Moral development (Why am I here? Why is there right and wrong?)

Don't give up. I have seen growth in this area of my boys and know it is possible.


Denise said...

Excellent! Absolutely excellent information! You can rest assured I am taking it to heart. Hmmm....I wonder what Mackenzie and I can start doing??? Thanks for giving me something new to ponder! Great post!

Karen Deborah said...

WOW, I found your blog from coffee bean. I'm a nurse but have never heard of this before. What a huge challenge! I am going to add you to my prayer list. I can't imagine, I think having a kid with ADHD is hard,,,zowie,
come over and enter my contest you could use a special treat more than anyone.

Jack said...

I met Dr. Amen at a lecture he gave and then participated in his brain study of injured and uninjured brains. I learned a lot about the damage that can occur even from normal children's bangs to the head - the kind that happen to most kids who engage in sports.

If you are interested in the brain and how it works, I highly recommend reading ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. It's on the NY Times Bestseller list and it's a wonderful book. Dr. Taylor's talk at TED dot com is also AMAZING! Oprah interviewed Dr. Taylor and you can check that out on And Time Magazine named Dr. T one of the 100 Most Influential people in the world. Having read her book, I can see why all the attention.

Dr. Amen's book is brain science and it's great at that. Dr. Taylor is a Harvard Brain Scientist, but what she writes about is the science and much more. She really cracks the code to understand how our brains (right and left hemispheres) work and she explains how we can get into our right brain and be happier and more joyful. Aside from any of the science, My Stroke of Insight is also just a great story.