Saturday, September 5, 2009

You have some RAD experience mom!!

I try to swim laps at our local Y on Tuesdays and Fridays. Two years ago I could dog paddle around and sort of do the back stroke. Now I swim a mile using the crawl (freestyle), backstroke and breaststroke. I love swimming because of the silence. It is just the steady slapping of the water, my breathing and nothing else. It is a great time to think or just not think and relax depending on my mood.

Yesterday my mind wandered to how much my swimming and parenting parallel in the extent they have changed over the last few years. Maybe some of them are stretching it but just laugh and move on if they are.

It was not long into my swimming experience that I figured out I was going to need the right equipment. I bought the oh so flattering Speedo suit, the cap, the goggles. Without them I would be constantly tugging at the suit, have ruined my hair and either have burning eyes or swim with my eyes closed. My strokes have improved over time. I am certainly not a fast swimmer, nor a pretty stroker (is that a word?) but my strokes are much better than they used to be. The reason for this is, I took lessons. Private lessons, not me with a bunch of little kids. It is easier. When I started I swam as far as I felt I possibly could. I looked at the clock. It had been 7 minutes and I was plumb tuckered out. Now I can swim an hour easily. When I started I felt like I was doing it wrong. It was awkward, slow and didn't feel right. Now I just glide along. I also found videos on You Tube demonstrating each stroke and how to move your arms and legs.

Are you seeing the parallels? When we parent children with mental disorders we need the right equipment and know how. I believe we need an attachment therapist. I know some of you are on major therapist burn out. I was there too, but the behavior got to a point where I HAD to do something. Attachment therapy was an important key in our youngest child's healing.

We can't be concerned with what others think about our parenting or how we look to them. We have to do what we know is right. It can be explained gently and lovingly to them and if they don't get it we have to do the right thing. We have to love our child enough to put them above our need to look good.

At first the type of parenting needed will seem so difficult. It does not come naturally and it is SO HARD. I'm not saying I don't have hard days now, but after 11 years of children with RAD and 3 of them parenting differently I figure it is a way of life for us. There are times when I lose my cool and say the wrong thing. I make it right and start again.

Educate yourself. Read, read, read. Whether it be books, articles on line or blogs find as much information about parenting a child with RAD as you can. Even the books that were more technical gave me a better understanding of why my child acts the way he does and explained the changes that had happened in his brain.

If you are struggling with parenting your child with RAD never, never, never quit. With training, prayer, support and practice your child will more than likely heal. I have one who has not yet healed and one who I feel is getting better all the time. I still have hope that one day the hurting one will have the light bulb moment but until then we swim on. One stroke at a time.


waldenbunch said...

I do like your thinking! One stroke (day, hour, minute) at a time. I have one healing and one healing that gets stuck all the time. But I can't look beyond today. It's too overwhelming. You should be proud of yourself and your family. This work is not for sissies!

Life's Mom said...

I swam 25 laps this morning (.75 miles). Life swam 6 laps - but that is her farthest distance, so she broke her own record. whoo hoo.

On parenting, you are so right - just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. These past two weeks of school have been SOOOO difficult. The school called in a "behavioral intevention specialist" to figure out what to do with her. They called me Thursday and asked me to pick her up. I refused - if I picked her up, we might as well quit - she would have won. Our therapist has asked for a conference call with me and her included which I think is an excellent idea - the school agreed. On a positive note, the school really wants to work with her, she has just stumped them. So we shall all just keep swimming!

Brenda said...

Waldenbunch~ Thanks. I agree. This is work that takes great determination.

Life's Mom~ Good for her on the swimming. I'm sorry about school. I hope they can figure something out that you think is beneficial for Life.

Life's Mom said...

Her adoption date is this Thursday. The combination of that date and school beginning together has just sent her over the moon. She has regressed back down to 4 years old (we were up to around 7 years old). I think it is just a matter of hanging on until she comes back to a safer feeling place. On Friday we started the plan that I suggested with some success. She is getting one "Life Buck" (fake money I printed) for every subject that she completes during school. She got 6 bucks on Friday (which is 6 more than she had done all week.) She can trade in the bucks for some gifts or privileges. She will stay in isolation with an aid to do her work until she feels safer. She did wish to eat lunch with her class on Friday.

Her therapist and I are also discussing an adoption "party" in the classroom. Her therapist will tell the class a little about her (not too much though) in hopes of building compassion with the other kids. I wouldn't do this except she had had some bizarre behavior this past week that the other kids are questioning. Then they all get a cupcake in celebration of her adoption. Do you have any experience with this? I would love any insight as to how to address her 3rd grade peers.

She has been better at home this weekend - although she is still acting 4 years old. We are so grateful for the 3 day weekend!

Brenda said...

Life's Mom~I'm sorry she is so afraid. I hope the week passes quicly and she settles back down some. I do not have experience with this. I'd keep it as low key as possible. They need to know it is a happy time but as you know from experience it doesn't take much to send them off.

Simply Moms said...

Great post!