Monday, July 7, 2008

Teens and RAD

Oh so very tricky. A "normal" teen boy (can those 3 words be used together?) is breaking away from mom. They are looking for independence. They do not want to be seen as a little boy in any way. So what happens when there is trauma and your child's maturity level is lower than their physical age? Confusion. Working on bonding with a teen who is seeking independence is tough. I don't know when it is RAD and when it is the normal teen behavior. All I can do is use as many of the tools I've been taught from the books, therapy and websites as I can and experiement as to which ones work. This again is tricky because kids with RAD are wearing a mask. They don't know how they feel themselves and they certainly cannot express it. So something that may look like it is not working may be working. While searching for info on teens and RAD I stopped and read this article from this site

Touching, rocking, eye contact, movement and physical closeness all will facilitate developmental attachment. Any activity that encourages reciprocity (such as pat-a-cake) and emotional attunement is helpful.

1. Peek-a-boo with hands, blanket, hood of jacket, from behind a door
2. This little piggy went to market with fingers or toes
3. Comb the child’s hair facing each other while commenting on color, texture, shape, and form
4. Washing child’s face, bathing child
5. Lullaby singing. Cradle your child so that eye contact is maintained while you gently rock child and sing. Be sure to put child’s name and descriptions of the child’s features into the song whenever possible.
6. Push that Button. Gently press on the child’s nose, ear, finger, toe, chin, etc. and make a noise such as "honk", "beep", or "toot." Then have child copy your actions.
7. Blow raspberries on child’s arm, leg, belly, cheek.
8. "Pop" cheeks. Fill your mouth with air and gently guide your child’s hands to your cheeks to pop out the air and make a sound. Then do the same to the child.
9. Singing and rhyming couple with movement. Bouncing, dancing, rocking, moving arms or legs, fingers, etc. Simon Says games.
10. Rubbing lotion onto child’s hands, feet, arms, or legs.
11. Playing with clay or shaving cream together to make shapes.
12. Tower of hands: alternate hands and then move bottom hand to top of pile.

I think some of these can be adjusted and changed to be at a teen level so I am going to work on that. It is challenging parenting children because each is a unique creation. Children with RAD are no different. So I believe we have to try, adjust and change to meet their needs.


Christine said...

I've been working on the same thing, trying very hard to not do anything that could bring humiliation to my almost-12-year-old.

I let him put make-up on me two weeks ago. That was a hit (and I looked HIDEOUS!).

I'm going to start spending one night a week teaching him how to dance - we'll have to maintain eye contact, and it will also involve music and coordination.

I've been doing hand-jives with him, but coming up with "cooler" lyrics (instead of "Down by the ocean, down by the sea ..."). Actually, you can take just about any cool song out there and put it to a simple hand jive. The goal is to get good enough that you can finish one without breaking eye contact.

We do the "slowly touch noses" thing, where it makes your eyes cross. Then you slowly rotate your head, side to side, and in YOUR eyes, the other person's eyes look all crazy. Brings a lot of laughs.

I got a mini trampoline. It's a hit with all the kids. The $30 one at Wal Mart has a thing that attaches to it and counts your bounces. I actually can't keep them OFF the silly thing!

I still struggle with actual cuddle time with him - how to modify that. I've tried to have him just drape his legs across me while we talk, etc. It's the hardest, so far. Of course, having my DD8 climb in my lap is like trying to cuddle a stick horse. :)

I'll let you know what else I come up with. This has been a big focus for me, lately.

Brenda said...


You have awesome ideas. I'm going to try some of them. Not the make up though ; )