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!