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.