There are many challenges and behaviors which are associated with Reactive Attachment Disorder such as: lack of affection, lack of conscience, disobedience, manipulation, temper tantrums, physical violence, destruction of property, argumentative, and so many more. Each child is unique in what his or her cycle may look like. What creates negative cycles of behavior and how can we as parents and caregivers help our children to break out of them?
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Letting go of mom guilt when you have a child with ADHD or RAD isn’t easy. When I was a younger mom I carried a lot of mom guilt with me. I told myself if I just tried harder, if I’d recognized “x” sooner, if I just said the right things, read more books about my kids’ challenges, tried one more program, was more patient, was more involved at their schools, was less this, was more that, then maybe my child would be happier, be less angry, have more friends, would get along better with their siblings, would treat me better, and so on. The guilt weighed me down for so long, crushing me and pushing me to work harder, do more and be more, more, more.
Our home is supposed to be a haven, but as a mom of three kids with RAD (reactive attachment disorder), one son in particular fights with me over everything, even the smallest of things, often making home feel more like a battleground. When raising this kind of a RAD child you know how emotionally exhausting it is. You go to bed tired and you wake up tired. Living like this day in and day out sometimes makes me ask myself: is it really worth it to stand my ground? Wouldn’t it be easier to just give in? Retreat? Let him do what he wants?
Parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder comes with numerous challenges. Each RAD child is different. I should know—I have three and they are each unique in how their RAD behaviors manifest themselves. How each person nurtures themselves is going to look different, but might I suggest three areas where you can nurture yourself when you have a child with reactive attachment disorder . . .
A couple of years ago I placed a countdown APP on my phone with all four of my boys’ names and how many days they would be remaining in our home. It was during a particularly rough patch with my kids, two kids in particular, and I needed that countdown to put things in perspective—to know that there would be an end my having to deal with all of the difficult behaviors, a light at the end of the tunnel as it were.