Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Long Haul

One of the things that STINKS about living w/RAD is that oftentimes....our kids might be doing something that all the other kids in the house are able to do w/freedom...but because it's that child doing it ("normal behaviors")'s a problem and it triggers something in us.

Is it the way they are doing it? Just a little bit more excited than the others? Just a little bit louder? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it the timing of when they are doing it? Holding court? Being the center of attention? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Are we annoyed?

Is it that they are doing it after a wacko morning? Are we holding a grudge? Are we anticipating a wacko afternoon? Fearful?

Is it that we are afraid that they won't stop doing it after everyone else has? Experience tells us that most of the time they won't. Are we afraid? Hedging our bets?

After all these years...I'd like to say that there are most definitely things that other kids are able to do that kids struggling to attach are not able to do or should not be able to do. In my opinion, parents need to be highly intentional and hands on...especially when dealing w/RAD. Not all kids should be telling jokes to or doing ballet twirls for visiting extended family....(especially if they are refusing to make eye contact with you or resisting your authority in any way.) Not all kids should have pets (especially if there's weirdness w/animals.) Not all kids should hug well meaning adults they encounter (especially if they prefer every adult they encounter over you.) Not all kids should be left w/babysitters. Not all kids should have sleep-overs. Not all kids can be dropped off at the movies at a certain age. Not all kids can do church camps. The list goes on and on.

This can be hard for parents. When we are faced with a paradigm shift...

* the way we've parented before
* the way we are parenting the others
* the way we planned to parent

....all of our ideas/plans need to shift. This realization can bring fear and resentment into our lives.

In the very same breath, I'd like to caution parents as well. Sometimes...what appears to be RAD behavior or what we consider RAD behavior...... isn't . Sometimes, that child is just being perfectly "normal" and doing what all the other kids are doing. As parents dealing w/stuff, gunk, and baloney all day long every day in and every day out.....we tend to read into everything.

Also, kids struggling to attach.... grow and learn like the rest of us. Oftentimes they get to a place where they are able to do what everyone else is doing when everyone else is doing it. We did not allow Girlie to have sleep-overs as early as everyone else was doing it.....but she's had a BLAST w/friends when it was appropriate for her (select friends/families we know well and trust.) Girlie is able to be dropped off and picked up at lessons problem. She has a healthy fear of strangers and will no longer be tempted to run off with them without ever looking back....therefore....she is able to explore the park w/in eyesight.

The bottom line...

Relax a little............ while staying on high alert :)

We are in this for the long haul.

We must pace ourselves.


waldenbunch said...

Wow. Written straight from my head and heart. You are dead on with your observations. I have 2 bio kids and 3 adopted (1 we are estranged from). Parenting the younger RAD kids is so much different and I overreact or don't react soon enough. It's exhausting! Only another parent of these kids can understand! Thanks for sharing.

Texas Lisa said...

This was a great post. Thanks. I often find myself asking the same thing. Is this "normal?"