Wednesday, February 2, 2011

RAD Mornings

Tear inducing! (mine)

That is what our mornings used to be like. This morning was not a good morning for Taz. I think he probably slid his med (for ADHD) into another compartment rather than take it. He is 16 now. That is fine. He can live with the consequences if that is what happened. He is going to have  a frustrating day. This morning reminded me of all those horrid mornings n years gone by.

Here is what worked best for me:

I always had calming music playing quietly. Mozart is proven to change the way the brain is working and cause it to calm. I made sure it was playing before they even came out. I grew to like it.

I did not try to force anything. Trying to force the issue is feeding into the chaos and sinking them deeper into the fear mode in which they seem to awaken.

Focus on the other kids. Keep the morning pleasant for them. Don't let anything the child with RAD says or does rattle you. It's fine. Make that choice.

Keep your voice calm and your mood regulated.  Tell yourself "I've got this. I can handle anything" Look at the fear or sadness behind the behavior. Touch his arm or rub his neck gently while talking in a cheerful calm voice. You are a safe mom.

This morning I fell back into some old patterns of arguing and pushing the issue. It did not make things better and he left very wired and angry. Does that make me responsible for how his day goes? No. He chooses that. When he gets home I will let him know I'm sorry I didn't stay calm and that he was feeling so afraid this morning and didn't feel comfortable enough to talk about it. Then I will ask him what we can do for each other to make things right.

Mornings are tough to say the least. But you can do it and they will get better. This is the first rough morning we've had in a long while. It just serves to remind me of how far we have come.

Have a healing day!


Kathleen Benckendorf said...

unrelated to this post... but would appreciate your input re: presentation I'm working on- how to be supportive to adoptive families. Current movement in Christian churches towards "orphan ministries" concerns me - more adoptions, but perhaps no more support.
If interested, pls see my last two posts on the blog at the link below - and/or email me & I can send you the current powerpoint draft.

♥Shally said...

Our mornings are MADDENING! It includes my son rolling around in his towel on the ground and taking 30 minutes to put his socks on.

It drives me insane.

I am going to use your music idea. Even if it just works to calm ME. :)

Brenda said...

I would be happy to read it this evening. My email is if you want to send the power point.

I really do get that. Ours used to be a nightmare. I'd just let him roll on the floor or give occasional time notifications "We leave in 15 min" We leave in 5 min. and no nagging. Then throw the clothes in a bag and stick him in the car as is. If he gets dressed in the car a couple times (after arrival to school, not while driving) he will stop.

RADMomINohio said...

I definitely try to practice the calm and patient mom. Classical music plays 24 hours in her bedroom. However, she "hates" school so much that it comes to the point that when I pull up in front of school, she refuses to get out of the car. I've waited her out and talk her down but there are days where this takes 15 minutes and she is late more than on time. Any recommendations?

Erika said...

Mine very often rolls out of bed in a funk. If I do too, it's a no-go. Gotta wake up early and get mood managed just in case.

Brenda said...


I would try several things to find what works for you knowing that it may only work for awhile and then you'll have to go something new.

1. If she is so tired and cranky she can't get to school, she must need an earlier bed time on those days.

2. If she won't get out of the car have a neighbor take her the rest of that week. She probably would not do that to them.

3. Start rewarding the other kids for getting out with a great attitude and don't mention her.

4. Stop talking and just turn off the car and sit there. I would refuse to say a word other than call into the school and tell the secretary "We are in the parking lot and Suzie will be in in a moment." Then say nothing else and look straight ahead no matter what.

5. Get out of the car and walk the other kids to their class for awhile laughing and huggin all the way from the car and ignore her unless she joins you.

6. No matter what, keep yourself regulated At a different time when she is calm tell her, you are sorry she is struggling with this so and say "I'm here to help. If there is anthing I can do to make this easier for you let me know.

If none of these work, let me know. Anyone else have ideas?

Brenda said...


I want to make sure I'm clear that empathy and understanding are needed here. But the time for talking are at times aside from morenings when she may be able to express what is going on. Is she having social problems, problems with the teacher, anxious about leaving you, showing some defiance? Is there fear or sadness under there? I'd also explain that it is a legal requirment that she go to school and that while you'd love to have her a little longer in the mornings that isn't something either of you get to do. Best of luck.

Ericka said...

I am a safe mom....I am a safe mom.....I need to chant this to myself :)

Life's Mom said...

Here are my morning tips:
I totally agree on the Mozart. Our local rehab center introduced us to "The Listening Program." It is Mozart very specifically mixed with nature sounds to exercise the ear brain connection. At first she did it at Rehab, but when that session was complete, I bought it on eBay and we do a session every morning while she eats. (our family meal is in the evening, so she is eating while others are bustling around getting ready). With her on ear phones, it really helps with the incessant chatter which is a bonus. This music totally calms her. She fought it at first, but even she can tell that it has a calming effect on her, so now she likes it.

The other thing we did that I have not seen mentioned yet are "Life bucks." I made them to look like monopoly money with her picture and name on them. We broke down the morning into timely "checkpoints." She got one for getting out of bed nicely (she used to spit in my face when I would awaken her!) Sometimes we would even practice waking up nicely the night before (sounds crazy - but things were that bad.) She got another "Life buck" for eating timely and with appropriate manners (no food on floor, no gross out game.) She got another for brushing her teeth in a timely manner (she used to lock the door and stay in there for 30 minutes), then another for dressing herself. Then she had a little "Life Store" and when she had enough to purchase a little trinket, she could shop. Sometimes I got the item that she was working towards out so it could "cheer her on." Someone gave me a bunch of Beanie babies and these worked wonderfully for her, but just whatever would motivate your child that wasn't too expensive. I would even do a little puppet show with the beanie baby cheering her on to work harder to get her "Life buck" and buy me! This kept the morning positive. If she didn't pass a check point, say got distracted in her room and didn't get dressed, I let her know that at 20 til, I would be in to dress her. Her not dressing herself would be the secret sign that she wanted me to dress her. I would have to work overtime to stay calm, but just calmly help her get into her clothes. I would remind her that tomorrow she could dress herself. There are still days that I have to dress her, but not that often now. We have come a LONG ways on our mornings!

Brenda said...

Life's Mom: Wonderful ideas.

Erika's Mom: Glad to hear it : )

Rhea said...

I just found your blog... after settling down after our own morning madness. Thank you for sharing and being out there to make us feel less alone in all this.