Sunday, February 1, 2009

RAD lures

A fisherman often uses a lure to catch a fish. Sometimes they use fresh bait. The more the lure looks like something the fish likes to eat, the more likely the fish is going to try to eat it.
There are several things that lure or bait us moms into ineffective parenting. Here are the ones that I fight often.
Control: I can't let a situation go because I want to assure myself I am still in control in my home.
Winning: I argue to win.
Fatigue: I allow myself to get so tired I become unreasonable and irrational.
Future: I start fearing my child's future and think I have to stop this NOW.
Personalization: I take my child's actions, which are not about me and make them about me.
Temper: I lose it and scream things that will set the healing process back and damage further the relationship between my child and myself. I do not believe this means the child should never know how their behavior makes me feel and that I should walk around with a big fake smile on my face. There is a line we cannot cross and I think we all know when we crossed it.
Fear: Most of these issues are driven by some sort of fear.
So how do I avoid getting lured in? When I am really in control it shows by my ability to control myself, not my child. I believe the best way for them to learn is to allow the natural consequences. Let them go without a coat (If they are at least school age) and find out they will be cold. Say, "Sure you can go without your coat. You are old enough to decide. I am choosing to wear one. " and let it go. Remember that I don't have to win. I need to teach my child what love looks like. Yes. I do believe in discipline. It can be given lovingly and fairly. Fatigue does not lead to good parenting. Take care of yourself. Give yourself the spiritual, emotional, and physical rest and care you need. The future can be very scary for the mom of a child with RAD. Give it to God. Don't dwell in it. Take care of today. Do not take your child's behavior personally. You represent motherhood. Past mom's especially birth mom have left them with issues that are being transferred to you. Those issues need to be dealt with. The best way to deal with them is to 1) take them to attachment therapy and EMDR therapy 2)educate yourself through books, seminars and websites that are reliable. I recommend some of each at the right. 3) gain support for yourself through therapy, church, family and friends. Take a break from those who are not supporting you. 4) Take care of your relationship with your spouse and emotionally healthy children. Focus on them at least as much, more on your spouse, then you do on the child with RAD. 5) take care of yourself 6) Never, never, never quit.
This week I will work on avoiding those lures! Even better, I will purposely use the behaviors I know keep me emotionally healthy so I can help my child be emotionally healthy.


Meridith said...

Man! Did I need that today! Thanks, Brenda.

Christine said...

I've got one RADalicious that is making MASSIVE progress over the last two weeks (including kindness before during and after my trip - and greeting me with a smile and a genuine hug!!).

The other ... not so much. In fact, we're in all-out shut-down mode right now. Ah well. I really, really, really prepped myself for this, so I already had my "plan" in place to help me avoid her lures. Of course, that's easy to do when you're out of town and you KNOW it's coming. Those days that they blindside you, is when it's a booger for me.

Brenda said...

Congrats on the progress Christine! Taz is doing better too. I'm so glad to see some good things happening!

suzie said...

wow, this is a very touching post.

It makes me think that parenthood is not about being perfect.

It is about going through one day after the other, some better, some worse,some where you loose it, some where you don't, some where the children loose it, some where thy improve.

But in the end, the individual day will disappear in the mist of time, and what counts is you achievement over the years: never, never quit: you succeeded in providing a stable, caring environment for children who suffered and were not easy to deal with. You always kept enough water in your personal resources fountain so as not to let it drain, so that you could refuel and provide new energy, love, care on every single day.

Some days you were exhausted and could give less, some you were rejuvenated and couldgive more, but you never let the children down: they could stay with you till adulthood.

Some all too idealistic foster parents might focus too much on being perfect every single day, and this might leave them burnt out and without resources after a while, so that in the end, despite their idealism, they fail the children, because they could not deal with them...

Suzie said...

PS: I think what will make the particular quality of your councelling is that you have been there, done that: you will not talk to (desperate) parents in the removed condescendence of a theortist(i.e. "how could you do that, my, my my????"), but from the empathic palce of a practician who went through the same struggles and knows that it is not easy, that there is no wonder cure...