Sunday, April 12, 2009

RAD rages

I remember the rages Taz had. I will never forget them. They would end with us both physically and emotionally exhausted, actually physically sweating. They kept escalating until they came to a point where I felt it was becoming an unhealthy way of releasing emotion for him and a way of ensuring physical contact. Don't get me wrong, in the beginning they were driven by fear of closeness. They were a way of letting out a lot of pent up rage and fear. Then they became a way of expressing emotion. One day as I looked at the bruises on my arms a friend asked me what triggered the rages. How did he look right before? I began to study his face. I watched what kinds of things set him off. A rage study so to speak. Then as I'd see that look I'd say "You are going to start screaming and yelling." He was so defiant that he'd clamp those lips and not do it just to prove me wrong. If one of the situations was going to happen that I knew would throw him into a rage I'd say "This is going to happen. If you need to you can scream, kick the walls and doors" He'd say he didn't need too. If none of this work I would cheer him on. I'd say "come on you can yell louder. Kick harder. Hit more". He would stop.

There was the day he would not stop kicking the wall. I started counting the kicks loudly. He stopped and said "What are you doing?" I told him I was counting the kicks. "Why?" Because dad and I had made a bet and whoever got the closest was going to get a latte. "Well I can make sure neither one of you win". Total silence. Later that night I said "I'll see you all later. I'm meeting a friend for a latte."

There is a time and place for everything. Rages are an unfortunate part of the process. If your child has them, please take extra tender care of yourself during this time. An hour or two to go to the library, get a cup of coffee or just go work out will do you wonders. Find your support. You need to talk about it. Be careful who you choose. Find people who will not tell you that they told you so or that will be shocked. Find people who will say they are there for you. They will listen and that they care. Find people who will pray for you and lift you up, not beat you further down.

(((((((((hugs))))))))))) to all.


Dia por Dia said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have been trying to do more observation of my son's rages lately and I have been starting to speculate that he is doing them for the physical contact. Like you I find that when I tell him to continue, cheer him on, or say he is going to rage he stops. BUT, he keeps looking for a way to set himself off until it happens.

Rose Adoption Journey said...

Have you ever had blood curdling screaming in the house during a tantrum and then they run out of the house doing it? Got a solution?

Brenda said...

Dia por Dia~ During a time when he is calm you need to teach him alternatives such as hugging. If he is embarrassed to ask for a hug he can give you a signal of some sort. Jumping on a mini tramp, shooting hoops, drawing pictures. Make sure he is getting a lot of physical activity every day.

Rose~ Mine never ran from the house because they don't usually want the neighbors to know they act this way. I'd say at that point he must be so angry/fearful/frustrated he just can't take it and wants to get away. Have you tried the collaborative problem solving on that one? Have him help you come up with solutions to screaming and running from the house. How old is he?

Brenda said...


I might also try telling him that running screaming from the house is a good idea because then all the neighbors will know about his fears and can help him out. Tell him you may need to print up some RAD information sheets that you and he can go door to door and distrbute so they will understand what is happening.

Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD said...

If the rage seems to be an call for attention and affection, as Dia por Dia wonders, then providing that will help. It is important to try to figure out what is underneath or causing the rage: wanting affection or attention, feeling afraid or threatened, a trauma trigger, or something is that which is driving the rage that you want to respond to and which will, in the long run, help the rage to stop.

Accidental Mommy said...

So true.

When I started encouraging the rages, I felt like a monster and everyone in the family looked at me like I was one too.

CDQ has them the worst and I'm a very short person. She would hurt me when I would try to do the hold on her and it was so exhausting because it would go on for hours. She would also scream that I was hurting her and I'd have to call all the kids in to see and explain what I was doing because she would trigger their fear. They needed to know she wasn't being hurt.

Even now, the rages are barely there and it's mainly her head banging and punching her thighs with her fists. Maybe not the best approach, but I've told her I like it when she does it. It stops instantly. The physical stuff does. She still screams and does some kind of throat thing, but at least she's not hurting herself.

Rose Adoption Journey said...

Thanks guys....we have figured out that this was a behavior at birthmoms house to get her attention and scare her into doing what he wanted. The rages and screaming come after he is told he cant...whatever....have the cheeseburger, go take a shower, stealing first we reacted and ran after him..that stopped real quick.

I like the idea about telling all the neighbors etc etc....It is hard in the midst of the rage to use humor. We are working on it. The screams are blood curdling and therapist thinks that he may be having flashbacks.

Yall have been encouraging!

familygregg said...

Right on the money, Brenda. And ....meant as an encouragement to others.....our foaming at the mouth, self harming rages have passed. They no longer exist. We haven't had broken furniture in a very long while. Most of our pencils stay in tact.....ocassionally we get one cracked in half....but that's about it. Keep up the good work.