Friday, September 5, 2008

RAD and personal hygiene

I know. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I took Bear to the orthodontist yesterday. They said he is not brushing. They have said that almost every single time he has been there. They have showed him how to brush them numerous times. They called me in and showed me. I'm thinking. "Yeah right." I was courteous. When we arrived home I said "Bear. They called me in but brushing your teeth is your job. You are 16. If you want nice teeth and gums you can brush them. If not don't." He already did not brush them last night before the went to bed. Personal hygiene is such an issue.

First it is some what a problem for many kids. Kids with RAD take the average problem and make it more extreme. I think there are a few reasons for this particular issue. I think they value themselves so little. Think of the difference in your personal appearance when you are down and discouraged and on the days when you are feeling great and excited to be alive. They are discouraged, afraid and confused much of the time. They think "How bad must I be that my birth mom didn't take care of me or love me enough to keep me." There is the constant fear of abandonment. Second it is a way of keeping people at a distance. They are afraid of being lovingly close. If there was sexual abuse this is true for that reason in addition to the RAD. When they smell enough it is hard for even us moms to hug them. They sure don't have to worry about the rest of the world and they wish we would leave them alone too. It is a control issue to the extent that we want them to do it. Doing what we want is a way of showing they care, of acknowledging we are their moms. It is so very hard to do. Remember the scared little child in the monster suit.

There are no easy ways of taking care of the personal hygiene. When they were little I'd supervise. They would ask to do something and I'd say "Sure as soon as you brush your teeth" or whatever it is. Now that they are teens it is their responsibility. I say very little. I don't have too. The other kids do. It is one of those areas where we have to remember as mom just love them anyway and don't let it be a block to our physical affection.


Christine said...

Have the dentist give him a price list.

"I understand that you will be paying for any dental work due to neglecting your teeth, so I wanted you to have this. I wouldn't want you to be charged something unexpectedly!"

That's a Nancy Thomas nugget.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the sensory issues. Rebecca doesn't brush because it is so painful. Then her teeth are disgusting and her gums are swollen and painful so it is a perpetual cycle she has trouble with. It is even worse now that she isn't living at home and no one is telling her to do it. I won't drive kids that haven't brushed. With her brain damage, that was the only way to get her to do it. We abandoned braces due to her hygeine. They can end up with straight, rotten teeth, so why bother?
Linda N

Tonia said...

I know this is off subject but I have been reading your blogs and really enjoy them...thanks for being so honest. WE are in the beginning of our journey with two adopted children, girl, 3 and boy 2-- I'm having a really hard time with potty training on our this common with children with RAD? And do you or anyone else have any recommendations. Thanks and God Bless you on your journey!

Brenda said...


Well thank you. I'm so glad to meet you. My boys were very difficult to potty train. I was just getting to know them when they were around that age and there were still a lot of issues. I will do some research on it for you and blog about it on Monday.