Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What do you tell your kids about RAD?

Telling our kids about RAD and then talking about it is something to really mull over. They need to know where all that fear is coming from and why they have these big feelings. So going back and explaining the attachment cycle gives them head knowledge of what has happened. There are several things of which I think we should be careful.

1. Using RAD as an excuse or allowing them to use it as an excuse for hurtful behavior only deepens the belief they have that something is "wrong" with them. They need to know that while ,yes, this is what is driving the behavior it is something to work on changing.

2. They can heal. They need to hear it over and over.

3. They love as best as they can. We need to be careful not to tell our kids they do not love anyone. I believe they each love at the level they feel safe. It might not be much but it is the best they've got at the moment. So if they say "I love you" instead of allowing yourself to feel manipulated remember they love in an unhealthy way and it is better to assume they do mean it. Sometimes I say to them "I know you love me as best you can but your past has taught you something hurtful things about love. We are working on those."

4. They may see themselves as victims. Talk about how that may have been true in the past it is not any longer. Work on giving them situations where they can choose and have some control such as an activity, a meal and then give them as much opportunity as you can to make it happen. They can fill out the paperwork for an activity, look up the address in the phone book, etc. They really can make wise decisions and choices if we start very small. We need to tell them they can make wise choices often.

5. Realize that until they begin to heal that many of the symptoms we see: lying, lack of cause and effect thinking, nonsense chatter, etc. will not subside. We should carefully discipline for misbehavior in a loving manner. Failing to do so to me tells them we have given up.

And you know we never, never, never quit.


Brie said...

Thanks for this post! We very recently started telling B about her RAD - we hadn't explained it to her for about the first year. Now that she knows, it's good and bad. At least she knows where everything is coming from, but sometimes she just uses it as an excuse. These are great reminders, and are so appreciated!

Little Wonder said...

I agree, our little guy (5) knows he has problems loving & trusting and we help verbalize that to him. Just yesterday I said the words, "I know you are having a day where you are finding it hard to trust mommy, I understand, and I want you to know I love you anyways!"

We've use the term "attachment problems" at this point and I'm sure as he gets older we will continue to explain to him why he does what he does. I think it's important for him to know why so that he can verbalize things himself.