Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend fun with RAD

This morning I am taking Taz to his MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) class. Later today we are taking the boys to see Red. We told them yesterday.  Then we will go to Culver's for ice cream. If it warms up we will put the Christmas lights on our house. Sound like a regular day in suburbia?  Not so long ago we would have done this all very differently. Our kids are healing.

Children wit RAD have a great deal of difficulty in extra curricular activities.  This is hard because school teachers and therapists unRAD push having your child in social activities. The only way they could handle the classes at all was if I went with them as a sponsor and that didn't work so well either. 

I would receive phone calls from teachers or coaches. Taz would not follow any rules, he was disruptive, he wouldn't keep his hands to himself, he said something inappropriate. There were a few reasons for this. Developmentally many children who have suffered trauma are stuck at the age when the trauma happened.  Think about your child's behavior and ask yourself what age you believe they most closely resemble....Then ask yourself what was going on at that time in their life. It is like putting a large 3 year old in with a group of 8 year olds and expecting success.

They do not know how to talk to the other kids. They do not know how to relate to the adults.  This is a stressful situation that cannot end well.  I finally started telling people that until Taz made some progress I felt putting him in these activities was very detrimental to his self esteem. It was intentionally putting him in a situation in which he would fail.

And now he is in MMA 3 times a week. Yes. He is.

It used to be if we were going to a family activity like a movie/ice cream we would not tell them until we were headed to the car. They would be so wild/angry/out of control that it was hard not to cancel the activity. So we just didn't tell them.  Sometimes it was tempting to not do family activities because of the chaos that would come wit it. The self sabotaging behavior.  They don't think they deserve it.  All emotion goes right to that flight/fright/freeze mode, even excitement. Before you leave for an activity tell them then OR tell them it is a surprise.  But tell them as you leave they are safe, you will be with them and that they do deserve it because they are a part of the family.

Now we told them yesterday. It is not big deal.

Healing can happen. Until then treat special kids in a special way. Don't let anyone tell you that you are not doing it right.  Protect their hearts. Keep things calm, safe and in control on your part.

It is hard but it is worthwhile.
Have a healing, fun day!


waldenbunch said...

Glad to have you back blogging. You're doing a great job! Parents in your area are going to be blessed to have a therapist in the trenches!

Brenda said...

Thanks ladies. It is great to be back. I have some down time now. We'll see what happens as time goes by. I need to do some visiting to your blogs!

Dawn said...

How did they like RED? We actually took our former foster son who has RAD to see it too. We often battle on how graphic a movie can be for him to watch, but this was a perfect medium. I hope your family enjoyed it. I appreciated your comment about "self sabotaging" behavior.

Brenda said...


It was very funny. Some of the previews of fimls to come were awful. Of course, my guys want to see those. Sorry boys. Not going to happen.

Brenda said...

I should add it is PG 13 for a reason. It is not for kids, but teens are ok.

Erika said...

Someone should do a list of movie reviews for families with children who have been removed from their first families for abuse/neglect reasons.

Brenda said...

Great idea Erika. I can tell you that I would not take mine to see Story 3.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I wish I would have had your blog as guidance when I was a preschool teacher for kids with emotional/behavioral d/o's. We had one little one with RAD, and he was such a challenge (he also happened to be my favorite and I would have adopted him in a heartbeat if his mother ever carried through with her repeated threats to drop him off at social services - sigh).
Thank you for being such a great resource!

Rick Raab-Faber said...

Thanks for this post. Some interesting food for thought. Your comment about putting a three-year-old in with a group of eight-year-olds hit home for me. We HAVE and eight-year-old RAD kid who is an emotional and social three-year-old. I'll be interested in reading the rest of your blog.