Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Normal is Just a Setting on Your Dryer

Are you normal? Are our kids normal? Am I normal? Normal is just a setting on the dryer has become a phrase I seem to say regularly. It is actually the name of a funny and yet meaningful book written by Patsy Clairmont. If you haven't read it, I think you'd like it! One of the things we talked about in Psychopathology class was "What is normal?" Actually in order to define abnormal behavior you have to come up with something that defines normal. Tough to do since we are all uniquely made. If you live with a child with RAD you KNOW the definition of abnormal. Here are the qualities of a normal healthy person as defined by our professor. I realize this is a person's ideas but I think they are pretty good.

Self-actualizing: to develop or reach one's potential, set goals, work toward who you want to be
Ability to accept oneself, others and nature
Adequate perception of a comfortable attitude toward reality
Focus on external problems (unhealthy people focus on themselves)

There are emotional and spiritual traits that we all value too but there are just very general personality traits. The reason I'm bringing these up is because sometimes instead of focusing on the traits we are trying to diminish we need to focus on what it is we want them to do. Self-actualizing: We need to talk with our kids about their dreams and goals. If that is too hard than just set some short term ones. What do they think would be a fun job? Would they like to go meet a person who does this? What would they need to do to reach that goal. Ability to accept oneself, others and nature: Make lists of the gifts or abilities God has given them. Post them on the fridge. What do they admire in other people? We go for walks and talk about the beauty we see. Adequate perception of a comfortable attitude toward reality: Do they know what is real and what is fantasy? Read stories and point out the difference. Talk about your feelings about important issues so they see what you value. Sometimes reality is a nice place. Sometimes it is not. Talk about appreciating those good times and how you handle the bad. Spontaneity: The ability to change plans (let's all groan here) I know healthy adults have different levels of spontaneity but let's face it. Our kids don't like a change AT ALL. Focus on external problem: Talk about how others might feel. When a family problem arises that has nothing to do with them talk about how it effects many people. Give to others. Volunteer. I realize doing these things will not make an unhealthy person into a healthy person but face it our kids do not have any idea what they are even aiming at! Make sure you spend time with emotionally healthy people yourself because focusing on unhealthy family members too much of the time can really hurt you too.


Lisa said...

Excellent Brenda!
I am grateful for you.

Brenda said...

Thanks Lisa. I'm thankful for you too. What did moms of RAD kids do before blogs? Oh yes. I remember. We were more alone.