Natural Consequences for RAD Children & Teens

Lectures, warnings, hollering, bribes, second chances and reminders do NOT work.

You are wasting your time and breath. Your youngster knows the rules – he just refuses to obey your rules! Remember – her actions are often automatic responses learned from infancy. Your youngster is in their element when you have lost your control!

Natural Consequences:

• Broken object – they must replace it with their own money or with chores.
• Did not bring homework home – go back and get it or assign your own homework.
• Does not want to eat – no problem, they will not starve, but they will sit at the table while the family eats (NO snack before next meal).
• Foul mouth, raised voice, rudeness, and back talk – can be rewarded with chores, exercise (jumping jacks, sit ups, running on the spot) or payment to money jar.
• Hurt someone – they must apologize and lose privileges (having friends over, watching TV, playing video games, using the telephone, etc.). Most likely, they will not mean the apology, but it is a habit-forming process.
• Misbehaving at dinnertime – remove them from the table. They can go to their room until dinner is over– so the rest of the family can enjoy a peaceful meal.
• Room not cleaned – stay in your room until it is clean.

Avoid control battles! Your youngster wants to control you, even if it means making you angry and them being disciplined. No one wins and you will end up frustrated. Try, “When you clean your room properly, you can have ____,” (lunch, playtime, etc.) –whatever fits the daily schedule.

Never believe your youngster, “Honest, Mom, I’m telling the truth! Why won’t you believe me, you never believe me!” Don’t let that sway you; your youngster is one of the best liars around. Should a miracle happen and you later find out your youngster was telling the truth; look them in the eye, apologize sincerely and reward – perhaps with a favorite dessert/comic/hug. If you find that more and more your youngster has told the truth, then you can start to let your guard down.

Give compliments in “now” time. “You showed great sportsmanship today!” or “You did a really good job on the dishes. Thank you.” Do not be surprised when your youngster sabotages these good moments. This is their only way of regaining control of their environment. Until they learn to trust you, this is their safety net.

Disciplines and punishments should also be in the ‘now’ time. Groundings for the week(s) may sound good to you but your ATTACHMENT DISORDER youngster lives in the ‘now’ mode. Cause and effect are not easily understood, if at all; especially if the effect lasts more than a day or two. You will find that if the grounding is too long or heavy your youngster will act out even more as they think, “Why not, I’m already grounded from everything”.

“Ain’t Misbehaving” Money Jar:

Each week have a roll of $2/nickels or $5/dimes and place in a jar; then for each negative behavior take a nickel/dime out of the jar. At the end of the week your youngster gets to keep the money in the jar. Be sure to point out how much money was in the jar at the beginning of the week.

Do not leave ATTACHMENT DISORDER kids in the care of adults that will allow the youngster to manipulate them. No youngster will trust and respect others who are weaker than them; this includes grandparents, childcare, teachers, etc. Weak caregivers will just reinforce your youngster’s belief that adults cannot be trusted and they can only depend on themselves for survival.

The strains a Reactive Attachment youngster puts on your family can be enormous.

Effects on the family of an ATTACHMENT DISORDER youngster:

• An ATTACHMENT DISORDER youngster will play one parent off the other, which could result in a rift between parents.
• Dreams of the perfect loving, caring family are squashed. There is no such thing as perfect family, but an Attachment Disorder family can become quite dysfunctional.
• Due to youngster’s disruptive behavior, parents often withdraw from social functions.
• Family events, like Christmas, can be filled with anger and frustration due to RAD behavior.
• Friends, family, church members become critical of parenting and attitude.
• Parents appear to be unfair, strict and sometimes hostile, as parenting skills used with healthy kids do not work with RAD kids.
• Siblings and pets can often be targeted and threatened. It is extremely important for RAD kids to have their own room - for their own good as well as the safety of siblings.
• Siblings often feel ignored or overlooked as the RAD youngster takes up so much of the parent’s time. Schedule, daily or weekly, one-on-one quality time for each youngster in the family.

Parenting Defiant RAD Teens

Adoptive Parents and Reactive Attachment Disorder

A major problem with the diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the painful truth that many of the very individuals we moms and dads turn to for help - professionals in the mental health, neurological, and medical fields - often lack the knowledge and expertise to treat our kids.

One of the first doctors I took my youngster to told me that my youngster would end up institutionalized and that if a PET scan were done on his brain, it would look like Swiss cheese - black holes of non activity where there should be brain activity. That there is nothing much I could do for him as "...these Romanian kids were hopeless cases..." My youngster was 7 years old when I was told this by a prominent neurologist.

I didn't believe in giving up. This youngster was my responsibility and I would work hard to figure out how to help him. How I would have loved it if there were professionals willing and able to treat my youngster - who believed in positive change in his life. I called and talked to over 140 mental health professionals on our insurance - this was a 4 state span - and either I was told that they did not know much or anything about this disorder or they had heard of it but didn't know how to treat it.

This site is my attempt to pass on my knowledge from reading and learning everything I could find on this issue so that I could help our youngster - which we were able to do with the help of a wonderful therapist that we eventually found. My youngster is 14 now and is not institutionalized but lives a happy life here at home.

So, as you read, keep in mind that the information that I have written on these pages is purely what I have learned and clearly anecdotal at best.

To those of you who are moms and dads of these most special kids, I say there is hope. My youngster was diagnosed with severe attachment disorder with some of the most violent and frightening symptoms and he made it. He loves, trust and is healing every day!

To those of you who are professionals working with these troubled families trying to find ways to help them, I say thank you.

To those of you who have not joined in to find a way to help us, I say start learning, pitch in, and help.

To those of you who point fingers at the very individuals who are trying to figure out ways to help us, I say evaluate your own issues that are driving you to the extremes you have gone to put all those who work with and love these kids under the same umbrella. I do not believe you act in the best interest of my youngster or the other thousands of kids in our foster care and adoption communities. Please re-examine your motives and start helping these families.

To our nation - these kids are not just those from Romania or other countries -- they are kids here at home. Ultimately, all adults have a responsibility towards all kids no matter where they are from. It is time to embrace and seek the truth about those early years of life and how they shape who we eventually become.

With the addition of hundreds of kids adopted from institutional settings and from the foster care system, it is important for all of us to become educated regarding the potential and unique problems these kids and their families face. It is by this understanding that we can forge ahead and learn to help our families heal.

Attachment Disorders range in severity. I believe that attachment is on a continuum that runs from securely attached through degrees of attachment issues all the way to those who suffer from severe attachment disorder as in my youngster's case.

We must also remember that all adopted and foster care kids do not suffer from attachment disorder. A lot has to do with the individuals themselves - their physiological and psychological make-up, the type of environment they were in and the duration they were in that environment and a myriad of other variables. With this in mind, we do not want individuals to become wary of adoption because of attachment disorder. We want individuals to become educated about it. I often wish I had known what was wrong sooner as I look back on years that were spent utilizing ineffective therapies and parenting strategies. We would have started on the road to healing sooner.

Adoptees are not the only individuals that can suffer from attachment issues. Grown-ups who did not get their emotional and physical needs met in the first few years as well as families who have biological kids who, for whatever reason, did not have a strong connection with their primary caregiver. Some of the causes of attachment problems are very subtle and often go unrecognized.

Parenting Defiant RAD Teens