October 23, 2014

Seven Power Drains of RAD Kids

If you want to help your Reactive Attachment Disorder kid to become healthy, it’s important to get past the behavior problems that will drive you up the wall and interfere with the development of a loving relationship that is so vital to their healing. Here is a list of 7 ways that RAD kiddos will drain your power and keep you from getting close to them.

  1. Using your brain instead of theirs. This is a biggie, and it’s what they do whenever they can. They’ll ask you a question that they know the answer to. They’ll constantly ask “Why?” On and on. You must not answer them – they need to figure it out on their own. Plus being enlightened by the Total Transformation program, I learned they don’t really want to know why, they use it to entangle us in an argument.
  2. Homework. Around our house, this used to be a battlefield, but not anymore. Now, we set up a time and place for them to do their homework and if they don’t do it, they suffer the consequences at school. Plus, it’s their responsibility – we don’t help them or do it for them. That doesn’t teach them anything other than to use our brain (see #1 above!)
  3. Lying. A normal child lies when confronted with misbehavior. RAD kids lie as a way of life. It’s like a hobby for them, and they’re extremely good at it! In fact, we’ve noticed that our youngest Radish will look you right in the eyes when he lies – and that’s about the only time he will! Just the opposite of normal kids, right? RAD kids will say they have spaghetti when they had a hamburger. It’s a test to see how gullible the adult they’re talking to is. RAD kids want power and control more than anything. When an adult gets angry over a lie, the message the child gets is that the adult is powerless to get the truth out of them and it reinforces the behavior. It’s better to err on the side of not believing a child than being duped. And don’t get angry!
  4. Swearing. Don’t freak out when they swear! They’re just doing it for shock value – if you’re shocked, they’ll continue to do it! This is a good time to prescribe the behavior. Have them go to their room and prescribe 5 or 10 minutes of swearing for each offense.
  5. Why? Never answer that question. Have a consequence ready and say something like “That’s a good question! After you’re done doing what I want you to do, you will sit down and write and answer to “why?” Keep all interactions to two sentences or less.
  6. No. Get ready for this, because you’re going to get it! Here’s what we do: have them jump on the trampoline or give you 5 good jumping jacks. If they refuse to do this (which they probably will) tell them “Oh honey, I didn’t know you were too weak to do this. I want you to rest until you’re strong enough to do it – whenever that is! Not a problem”. Then, make sure you do some fun stuff with the other kids, but don’t let anybody interact with the weak child. Weak kids really need to rest and not be over-stimulated.
  7. Triangulation. RAD kids are masters at this and they will do anything they can to triangulate other adults against their parents, especially their mom. The best way to avoid this is to clue the adults in that the child will come in contact before they do. Tell them the child is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and show them the list of Reactive Attachment Disorder Symptoms. If a child does manage to get an adult on his or her side against the parents, that person should be eliminated from interacting with the family, if possible. Nancy Thomas has a great video called The Circle of Support that you can give to close friends and family members to help them to understand the problem. If the child manages to pit dad against mom, it’s especially bad. Dad’s, please believe what your wife is telling you! Take it from one who know!

There you go – 7 ways RAD kids drain your energy and some techniques for dealing with them.

Having trouble with a RAD kid? Don’t even know where to start? Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of When Love Is Not Enough today. It will be the best $12 you ever spent.

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Positive Parenting Skills website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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