1. Your child says he loves you and gives you a stiff awkward hug. You assume he:
A) wants to be in control
B) needs practice hugging but does love as best he can
C) is trying to annoy you
2. Your child is angry when you discover he has eaten all of the ice cream bars in one sitting. This means she:
A) Has no conscience
B) Thinks she has every right
C) Is feeling guilty and so is acting out
3. After the family goes to a movie where you laugh and have a great time your RAD child is guaranteed to try to act out the whole way home.
A) He just can't get along with anyone
B) He is feeling anxious about the family closeness
C) Enjoys annoying everyone
4. Your child says every day that you are mean.
A) You are mean
B) He just doesn't want to do what he should
C) He is afraid of moms
5. Your child has huge hygiene issues and smells
A) She is inconsiderate
B) She just doesn't listen
C) She is trying to keep people away.
My point is this, if my first gut instinct is to read hateful thoughts into every word my child says, every action it is time to step back. For my kids the answers would be 1. B, 2. C, 3. B, 4. C and 5. C. Many of their actions are driven by fear. Can you imagine living in fear so much of the time? We need to sooth and calm them. When I start reading into their actions and thinking bad thoughts about them I parent poorly. Just think about it. OK?