Tuesday, September 15, 2009

He is so sweet

One of the things that use to be really tough for me was having people come up and tell me how sweet and wonderful my child with RAD was. I remember once before church he was sitting there ripping into me about how mean I am and how I don't love him. Someone walked up and he immediately became charming and endearing. She said to me a few minutes later "You have done such a great job with him. He is the sweetest kid." This all happened in about a 10 minutes time period. I just felt sick. Why was he so verbally abusive to me and so kind to everyone else?

The answer, of course, is that I am his mom. That means to him that I am dangerous. Love is dangerous. Moms are not to be trusted. Moms always leave. He actually said these words to the therapist at one point.

It happened again at the grocery store yesterday. Only this person is close enough that she knows the situation. She asked how Bear was doing. Frankly, he is not doing well. She said it is so weird because he seems like such a sweet heart when she talks to him and it is hard to imagine he has these problems. I explained that this is part of the illness. She is not trying to attach to him so he does not feel threatened.

It really doesn't bother me so much any more. I remember our attachment therapist saying "This is how you want him to act all the time." So now, when I see the charming and endearing behavior most of the time I can imagine that this is who he would be if he were not sick. He would be like this all the time. That is the goal. I do not think he is being manipulative in his behavior during those times. I think he is genuinely trying to be nice and friendly. It is so awkward for them that it appears fake.

It is just a part of the illness. Remember that your child has a serious illness in need of treatment. Have a healing day.


peggysue said...

Very thoughtful post, its like you're inside my thoughts printing them out.

I don't know if its age, gender or degree of RAD, but my daughter doesn't speak bad words to me, she just treats me disrespectfully or discounts me either consciously or subconsciously. I had to call her on the fact that yesterday she ran to her dad with a paper from school when he drove up, without ever having shown me the paper once in the three hours she was home and we were together. Or not talking to me for an entire weekend trip and addressing every comment to her dad instead . . . I wonder often if with adolescence in the future, it will become more verbal.

And it is painful sometimes to watch her trying to connect socially with other kids her age. It works for a while but she tries too hard, because as you say, that aspect of their lives is broken or altered, so it becomes forced and fakey and even at a young age, kids recognize that and eventually pull away. And when that happens, she starts to spiral out of control because what she's doing isn't working so she ramps it up . . . I can see that starting on the bus stop in the mornings and I don't know how to help her fix it . . .

Brenda said...

Peggy Sue,

Interesting because what you say relates to what I am planning on posting tomorrow!

As far as the social part we tried a wide variety of things. It is a very tough issue. If they want to change you can try many of things mentioned in books. If they see no need it will not work.

marythemom said...

My children are disrespectful, but almost as though they are not aware of it. I just tell myself they don't know any better. This is obvious when I see them trying to make friends. Their friendships do not last, because they don't understand other people. Their world is black and white, and people are good or bad. For our son, he actively starts pushing girls away because they "get too close" or do not worship him. Everyone is dropped when they show any flaws (and flaws can be having interests other than my child).

I sometimes think this is why they are so mad at us, as their parents. We could never be what a Mom and Dad are "supposed to be." Parents are supposed to focus all their attention on the child and give them everything (can you say entitlement?)

Anyway, I'm just glad they do not actively hate me anymore.

Mary in TX

Virginia said...

I agree with peggysue...so much of what I see with B is right in her post as well. And Brenda, I just had a teacher tell me what an angelic daughter I have...the next morning B told me I was evil (I think I told her no to something she wanted). She has gone from disrespectful and impulsive to outright hateful. I'm sure some has to do with her approaching adolescence (she's now 12).

Brenda said...

I think hormones and RAD are a dreadful combination. The good news is that as Taz has begun and moved into his freshmen year he is blossoming and flourishing at home and school. He is starting to make friends for the first time.

Meanwhile, Bear, who just cannot seem to respond to love in anyway and completely rejects it is pulling away more each day. But then as I have said, I think as an adult he is going to eventually have that ah ha moment.

Bill and Ronni Hall said...

We recently had this happen at the Boys and Girls club, where J is known by her middle name, Ivy. Ivy is the perfect child, and impresses the staff everyday with how responsible and mature she is.

We got the "You must be so proud, she is a great girl. You really did a great job parenting her." Meanwhile, J is completely the opposite at home.

There seems to be two very distinct personalities.

Life's Mom said...

This is where Life differs. While she is "superficially charming" to everyone at first, she usually turns on them pretty quickly. Sort of "equal opportunity" mean. I hardly ever hear "she's so sweet," it is usually "wow, you really have your hands full don't you."

She has never fallen into the triangulation trap of pitting me against her father. She will lay into him just as quickly as she lays into me. Wow these words sound harsh. It just seems that her need to control and attempt to get her way is greater than her need to smooze people. But this could change as she gets older.

Brenda said...

Life's Mom

I don't think it sounds harsh at all. Its just a realistic picture of what Life faces each day. She doesn't feel safe anywhere or with anyone.

ldw said...

Yes, I relate. Had an ARD meeting today with my son's school and our therapist. The administration had spoken with the teachers (jr high) before we arrived and the reports were wonderful! He is so smart and nice and helpful. So they continued looking at us like we had three heads and I'm sure there was some eye-rolling when we left. That's fine. As long as they make the adjustments for my son, I don't care anymore. Watch out for the Crazy Mama!!

Brenda said...

It is so frustrating having the world think you are crazy. Even more upsetting when they think you are a bad mom saying these things about your innocent child. Then you go home and have urine in the carpet, your things broken, are called names and have screaming rages going on. It can make you feel crazy. Our children are so emotionally sick and scared.