The song “Grace “by U2 always comes to mind when I think about how I’ve raised these two children.
Grace finds beauty
And I have, they are beautiful in every sense of the definition, but they have had and still have their ugly days, ugly minutes, ugly seconds, weeks and months.
Then you must add into to their lives teen brain and hormones. So, at any given point you just don’t know if its RAD or teen brain, someone will abruptly erupt and you are left wondering where this is going and where will it end.
My first instinct is to sigh, then my second is to step in, then I normally step out because there is this thing called conflict resolution, and we all need to learn it.
So, whether they are fighting with each other or fighting with themselves or just fighting with an object or me or their dad I feel it’s important to step back and watch (bit hard to do if they are fighting with me but I try to keep my mouth shut if that’s possible)
Conflict Resolution is a skill, it’s not something that comes naturally to anyone and certainly not a child or teen with RAD … and not someone with teen brain and RAD, cause teen brain is just as ugly as RAD most of the time.
Even I’ve had to learn conflict resolution, which wasn’t easy cause I’m a self-opinionated woman at the best of times, so even I have my ugly moments and can act like a child if something doesn’t suit me or please me or just racks me off in general, so if I at my age struggle with this then how in the word am I to teach it to children/teens who have RAD.
I’m not, …. because it’s something you learn yourself with a little bit of guidance ….. once a suggestion has been made … or its just comes naturally because your brilliant. We are not all brilliant so hence we need guidance.
They say it’s an “ability to successfully resolve conflict depending on your ability” … sounds like a contradiction of terms to me.
So, when I say it’s something you learn yourself, it really is. Think about it, think about the guidance you had as a child …..
“Go play with someone else”
“Count to Ten”
“Use your words, not your actions”
“Take turns sharing”
So, what is guidance, its ideas planted in your mind as a way to deal with something or someone you don’t like.
I read a good post about this last year,This post is so helpful and I think even if you don’t have kids you should read it because the inner child in most of us still needs a little bit of guidance in the times we live in.
So, we have all used these pointers at some time or they have been used on us.
Do they work? For the most part, they are good guidance tools for any parent, teacher, child worker with a child who is NOT displaying RAD symptoms, that’s right I said NOT because sadly these don’t work with RAD kids and don’t be fooled into thinking they do.
I tried them all, none worked and every time I tried them I wondered why they didn’t work. Then it came to me (after some time that is, wish it had been over night but sadly it wasn’t) they have no consequences to their behavior even though consequences where set up they didn’t matter
You can’t say to a RAD kid
“Did you…?” “Why did you…?” “What could you have done differently?” “Do you remember…?” “What did you say?”
Nine out of ten times they will reply with “I don’t know” or they will compose an eloquent answer that means nothing at all and won’t make any sense to you in the slightest … it will just be plan ugly and you will be left there wondering what your come back should be. There is no come back they just won the battle of conflict resolution their way.
Now you are wondering so what should you say?
Well that is a good question, and if I’m honest (which I am) it took me a long time to get this right, I would reach for the 5 steps before reaching for the RAD steps. It took me a long time to work out that what I was doing or how I was doing it wasn’t the right way and this was with guidance from a therapist, seriously the penny took a long time to drop with me, and I’m a fairly intelligent person, but RAD has a way of making you stumble when you need to be standing up right.
Let’s go to the steps…. And I’m not going to fully explain them because this blog post would go on for days if I did
Belief vs truth – Explaining the difference is helpful
Challenging beliefs – Rather than challenging the belief directly which to be honest is rarely effective ask the child to flip the belief into its opposite then speak it out
Choice – Choice is an idea that is very often absent with RAD children’s thinking.It needs to be and must be pointed out that we all have choices good and bad.
Consequences – To our choices and actions, clear structure more so then the average child, They will often see the consequence as a way to humiliate them because of the lack of trust they have towards adults, which will then result in sabotage of performance or compliance, the main point is that you should not give up with setting consequences because without that mechanism in their lives that are going to be RAD adults and that can lead again to all sorts of problems.
There is loads of other steps you can take … but I would be here all day
And like I’ve stated before I’m not expert I’m just a mom who has raised RAD kids to teens and I’m still learning to.
So if you or someone you know if struggling with RAD or had a recent diagnosis I’d recommend a book to you to read or pass along. It is called “When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide To Parenting Children With RAD”
Nancy Thomas the author is an amazing lady and her books and website have been my savior for so long now I feel I have her on speed dial… well at least her website is and her facebook page.
Well sorry that was just a long post but it felt good to write it all down….