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Attachment Disorders - Page 2

post #21 of 104
Thread Starter 
post #22 of 104
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
Yeah, I know, and I don't know why I keep at MDC by posting about Desta. I guess I have a sense of masochism, ya know?
You continue to post here becasue you know how much I miss you when you are away

I wanted to add something about your original point. I kind of think information about attachment disorder is BOTH over and under emphasised in adoption circles. Everybody knows about it and nobody knows how to treat it. I know when we sought out an adoption specialist, she told us that most parents who bring their children for evaluation feel the problem is attachment. She said it almost never is. In those cases, specific therapy is used. But in most cases, some other underlying problem not related to attachment is found.
post #23 of 104
You continue to post because you know I will find you wherever on the internet you are and you can't hide!

(That's a joke people-- DM "knows" me from another site and it's purely coincidental.)
post #24 of 104
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
3. is RAD more common in:
children who loose the birth family later,
children who loose the birth family in certian ways
chilren who have longer between birth family abnd forver family
I worked with a couple of children with RAD at my previous job. Without giving too many details, one was pretty much locked in the bedroom for years, another was parented by a very mentally ill person for four or five years and another was parented by someone with mental health, medical and drug addiction issues who would drop the child off with anyone for days/weeks on end for the first four or five years.

These three children were very challenging. They all were brought into foster care at about 4-5. I know one has had several failed adoptions and is in group home, another has been waiting for an adoptive home for 6 years and one is in a kinship home, waiting for the adoption to be finalized.

I worked with many, many children in foster care and the ones who were severly neglected during those first few years are the ones who suffer the most. (please understand I am only talking about my experience and not trying to imply this is true for all children with RAD)
post #25 of 104
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
For a well-attached, typical child i dont believe that most of the parenting that is best suited for a child with attachment disorder is appropriate. I dont think time outs, punishment, control, etc are good for most kids. And i personally dont think they are that great for kids with attachment issue unless you also have the "high nurture" aspect down, and that you employ these techniques not with the idea of punishment, but rather truly trying to help the child (which is what i think makes it different than just typical parenting techniques.) Sorry, not even sure if this makes sense.
No, makes perfect sense.

But what part of this makes child focused attachment parenting incompatible? It would be nice if people would be willing to talk about their parenting and how/why they think their approach must necessarily clash with attachment ideals. Because so far, I just don't get it.

I'm pretty well versed on the literature around AD. Certainly I've long ago read through the links you provide. I don't think my questions stem from ignorance about the subject.

Why are you not able to synthesize attentive, responsive, respectful parenting ('attachment' parenting being a loosely applied name for this) and rigid expectations, consequences and absolute consistency in your discipline? Because I haven't had to choose between the two. I find them quite compatable.

And what AP techniques are injurious to your child? And how?

If you want people to be educated, then let's talk. Honestly.
post #26 of 104
Thread Starter 
post #27 of 104
Dm, if you're still reading, BIG s. I mean, huge ones. Hugs as big as the snowbanks outside....but warmer.

I think we need to be very careful, in this discussion, not to challenge dm (or any other mother dealing with a child's attachment disorders) that if she would only do things *differently* or *the AP way* or *the right way*, then things would be different. Obviously dm has done a great deal to find out the right way to act/be/parent in her family. I think challenging that in any way is inappropriate in this conversation. We're trying to understand by way of learning what it's like to walk a mile in her shoes. Let her tell us about those shoes, and the walking--you know?

Not understanding is not the same thing as telling a mother that maybe if she were doing it differently, she wouldn't be having the problem.

s to everyone in this discussion, especially dm. You deserve a big ol' medal for putting yourself out there again on this.
post #28 of 104
Originally Posted by blessed View Post
When you talk about Desta it's always in terms of seeking justification for your anger at her - sort of trying to 'prove' that your anger is warranted - or sort of venting about some situation. I've read your blog and your posts here, and I found myself thinking one time that I never recall ever reading anything positive.
I'm sure people would say the same things about me if they read my posts about my SN son/sons.

Living with, and parenting, a SN child (or RAD child) is VERY tough. Like grind-you-to-the-ground tough. You need to be able to talk about it, especially when you're in a place like dm is--where RAD makes mothers isolated, makes them get blamed, makes them seem like they're the only ones seeing the problem.

Honestly, in my case, there isn't a whole lot that IS positive about parenting a SN child. The things I need to talk about, and post about, are tough and sad and full of anger and resentment and frustration. I could post about the two hugs my child gave me, or the 30 minutes he WASN'T tantruming today, but really--that's not what my day is about. My day is about coping. My day is about one challenge after another.

I have a NT kid, and I can see why a lot of parents "don't get it." My NT (neurotypical or "normal") kid is a breeze. Pure enjoyment, even when he's being a typical little toddler brat. If I had only kids like him, I'd be posting fluffier posts, too. As it is, I'm in crisis mode most of time. Life is HARD.

So if dm, or other moms, aren't posting about the warm fuzzies, that's why I'm guessing. Warm fuzzies are great, but when you're dealing with big/sad/scary/isolating challenges, you need to talk about the challenges, vent about the challenges, post about the challenges.

You need support and understanding.

Blessed, you're a sweetie, , but dm is a GREAT mom. Really. Her posts reflect her world right now, and that's what all our posts do. I can see how she got upset.

Again, s to everyone.
post #29 of 104
[QUOTE=dharmamama;10020284]Mainly, it's because my child doesn't trust me. My child does not trust that I will look out for her best interest and take care of her. So instead of acting out of trust, she acts out of fear. She fears that if shes does not control every interaction, her needs will not be met. Her relationship with me is based on controlling me. I cannot respond to her desires in the same way that I respond to my other kids' because she does not desire things in their own right. She desires control. She wants to be able to make me jump whenever she says jump just so she can see me jump and know she's in charge. So I have to force her to 1) realize and 2) understand that I am in charge, not her, and that she will be safe even if she gives up control.

Until she can give up control and allow herself to be nurtured, we will not have a reciprocal relationship. At this point, I am only useful to Desta if she can control me. If I defy her (and by defy, I mean something like refuse to get off the pot RIGHT NOW and get her a glass of water) then she has no use for me and is enraged at me.

The only way she will learn to trust and give up control is through structure and predictability. I am literally reprogramming Desta.

An example of life with Desta is what happened today. Yesterday, Desta asked me to take her to the store today so she could spend some allowance on Christmas decorations for her room. I told her that I would take her IF the weather allowed; she knew (and I reiterated to her) that we were expecting an ice storm today. We got the ice storm. She asked whether we could go to the store. I said no, because the ice storm had come. Desta went to her room and stayed there for five hours because she was so angry with me. (And this is huge step forward; six months ago she would have followed me around the house for the rest of the day, alternately haranguing me and giving me an active cold shoulder/silent treatment.) Not only is that not a typical reaction from any child, but I also had to tell her recently that if she displays any of several concrete signs of anger (sighing, frowning, turning her back to me when I am speaking, etc.) and she can't get it under control in five minutes, she must go to her room until she can. Desta doesn't hit or kick, but her seething anger is every bit as destructive and toxic to live with when you are the target of it every day.


This sounds like my sil, who through many traumas in her life has continued to act out in this way, which is mainly destructive to her brother,(my dh) unfortunately...it doesn't get better in adulthood, unfortunately... (she's almost 40 years old) Those behaviors are EXACTLY what she does, which leads to a great deal of frustration and pain on the part of anyone involved with her. Unfortunately. It's either what she wants now orelse. Thanks for the example, it was so spot on. I don't know if this sort of thing can ever be truly addressed, no matter how much we try.
post #30 of 104
When Families and Friends Don't Understand

Since many of the symptoms associated with attachment problems look like normal childhood behaviors, it can be very difficult if not impossible to explain to friends and family. Some, in an attempt to be helpful, try to dismiss the problems. You hear, “Oh, my son has temper tantrums all the time,” all the while thinking to yourself, “Not like these, lady!” Others try to generalize, “He looks perfectly normal to me,” while you roll your eyes, knowing that he is at his worst only when he is home. Alone. With you.

And then, there are the friends and family who, in the spirit of helpfulness, begin to question your methods, or even worse, your sanity.

A low point in our attachment road came about nine months after we first identified the problem. After months of progress, we plateaued, which felt at the time like a major upset. For support, I turned to a close friend. From the beginning, she supported our journey through regular contact, prayers, and listening sessions. I divulged more to her than most, feeling that she truly accepted what I’d been teaching her about the attachment process. After sharing the latest struggles, I was shocked to receive a note from her asking if my child could sense my love for him as he was, rather than as a project that needed to be fixed.

And this, a Do's and Don'ts list for Family and Friends that includes information about general attachment, and suspecting attachment disorders:

2. Trust the mother's instincts. Even a first time mother may notice subtle symptoms that well-meaning family and friends attribute to "normal" behavior.

3. Accept that attachment issues are difficult for anyone outside of the mother to see and understand.

4. Be supportive even if you think everything looks fine to you.

1. Assume an infant is too young to suffer from emotional issues related to attachment. Babies are not immune.

2. Underestimate a new mother's instincts that something isn't right.

3. Judge the mother's parenting abilities. What looks like spoiling or coddling may be exactly what the child needs to overcome a serious attachment disorder. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.

4. Make excuses for the child's behaviors or try to make the mother feel better by calling certain behaviors "normal". For example, many children who suffer from attachment issues may be labeled strong-willed by well-meaning family members. While being strong-willed can be seen as a positive personality trait, this type of behavior in an attachment-impaired child may signify problems.

5. Accuse the mother of being overly sensitive or neurotic. She is in a position to see subtle symptoms as no one else can.

7. Put your own timeframes on how long attachment should take. One mother was hurt when she was chastised by a relative who couldn't understand...after all, the baby had been home six months. It could take weeks, months, even years. Every child is different.

9. Fall into the appearance trap. Some babies/toddlers with attachment issues can put on a great show to those outside of the mother/father. What you see is not always a true picture of the child. Even babies as young as 6-months-old are capable of “putting on a good face” in public.

And this, Red Flag Phrases.

Red Flag Scenarios

You notice something one day, something you'd taken for granted. You realize your daughter never faces you. Hmmm, you think. You notice she always takes a hug with her back to you. Not only that, she doesn't like it when you two are face to face. You mention it casually to your husband who says:
"She's probably just more comfortable that way."

Your daughter is the sweetest child in the world--everyone says so--your playgroup, school, church. Sometimes you wonder how you got so lucky. You realize that at home, she is very directive. You're glad though, because you want your girl to be strong. It's just that sometimes you wish she'd listen to you without so much opposition. She tells you what she wants to wear, what to play, how to play, whether she wants pretzels for a snack. But, you remind yourself:
"She's just strong-willed."

You child is in the "I'll do it myself stage." All children go through that, right? You just didn't think it started this early or was this persistent. If you help her with something, she flies into a rage! Your cousin says:
"Independence is good. Consider yourself lucky!"

You go to the playground with some friends. Your son takes off across the grass toward another family. He allows them to pick him up, laughing and chatting all the while. Your friends reassure you, saying:
"He’ll probably be a politician!”

Your toddler has started hitting. He occasionally smacks you in the face. Nothing seems to deter him from hitting his siblings. Your neighbor says that, just like her son:
“He's all boy!”
(Adoptive mom's note: "all boy" should apply to the fact that my son would sleep with a matchbox car if I let him. It doesn't apply to him hitting me or being oppositional.)

Ever since your child was very young, he would play quietly by himself. In fact, he doesn't seem terribly interested whether you come or go. He pays attention to a toy for long periods, playing it over and over again. You secretly think he must be highly intelligent. Something nags at your heart, though, but the nursery school teacher says:
“He's just the quiet type."

Your 10-month-old throws fits. He pitches food from the highchair and screams. Your mother-in-law, a teacher, says:
“He's just frustrated because he can't talk to communicate what he wants."

You call your son and he doesn't respond. This is happening so frequently that you begin to wonder if he's hearing impaired. You take him in for a hearing test and he passes with flying colors. Yet the minute you get home, it appears that he can't hear a word you're saying. Your mom says:
"Selective hearing. All kids are like that. It's payback time for when you used to do it to me.
post #31 of 104
Though they were not adopted, my stepson and step daughter both have RAD.

(((( dm )))))) I've had these conversations more than once before, and it is so very hard. I'm not sure that its really possible for others to understand unless they've been there. AP doesn't always work, and love unfortunately isn't always enough. Parenting a child with RAD is hard, hard work.
post #32 of 104
I have worked very peripherally with some older children with RAD, and I am trusting Dharmamama's instincts on this one.

, Dharmamama.

My daughter was adopted at 2 months, was with her wonderful foster parents who attachment parented (although they didn't know it!) her since she was a few days old. I think we have been pretty attached parents (she lived in a sling for 2.5 years, co-sleeps, responsive, respectful, etc.), and I think she has some attachment related behavior issues that are very frustrating. Not RAD, but similar to some of the behaviors DM describes, on a smaller scale. And she's only 4, so they play out differently.

I am at the very early stages of the learning curve, so I won't say too much, but it is sad that one of the mama's here isn't feeling supported.

post #33 of 104
Originally Posted by Leatherette View Post
...but it is sad that one of the mama's here isn't feeling supported...
Yes. I don't intend that to be the case. I'm just trying to engage in an honest dialogue about what I think works for our kids. Blindly comforting someone and reassuring them that they are doing all they can do, if I don't believe that is true, will feel good. But that isn't what we're doing here, in this thread. I don't think anyway. I think we're trying to have a genuine discourse.
post #34 of 104
Thank you for remaining kind and civil. This is hard stuff. I see how what I say sounds and feels to you.

I'm sorry. I don't know the ins and outs of everyones stories. I can only speak from my own perspective because, of course, that's all I know. When I hear from you and others, my perspectives are broadened.

I tend to believe that the discipline and consistency are what really make the difference. Because the only template that professionals have are these awful mainstream practices, that is what desparate parents end up trying and - yes - they work. They change behavior. Life is more liveable.

But I think that our child bonding with us is a different issue, and requires careful protection, and that these mainstream practices can inadvertently stomp all over them.

I think you can have effective discipline and still work really, really hard at protecting the fragile bond with our kids.

I'm so opinionated. I'm sorry. I know I hurt people sometimes without meaning to.
post #35 of 104
blessed, I'm curious. (if you already said and I missed it, I apologize) Have you read or researched RAD and the different parenting approaches that exist?
post #36 of 104
Desta asks to go the night before. She's told "What a great idea! What sort of decorations are you thinking of? Tell me more about it." You sit down and listen, using this as an opportunity to pull her closer to you.
I can't speak for dm, and you know, she may have even done this. I am sure she has some really tender moments with Desta. But here is the thing, if you are parenting a child with attachment disorder-- particularly RAD-- you may NOT be able to respond like this.

With my oldest dfs, I had to be very careful what things I chose to show enthusiasm for and what things I didn't. If I knew there was an ice storm coming, and there was a good chance we wouldn't be able to go, I would have to give him a very clearly flat or unenthusiastic response. Because painful experience after painful experience tells me, if I was to say what you described above, that wouldn't be what he would hear...what he would hear would be more along the lines of, "What a great idea! We will *absolutely* do that." Because what he is searching for is confirmation of his control.

After you've talked and are feeling less guarded with each other, you say "Oh sweetie, you know what? There's a weather advisory out for tomorrow. It's supposed to be icy. We'll have to see how the weather turns out. If it's not safe then I won't take you out driving, okay? I really hope it's alright though, I'm looking forward to seeing your room decorated!"
...and it wouldn't matter what I said after that little warm fuzzy conversation, because the thing my dfs would have been thinking the whole time is, "We're going. We're going." His neurological system wouldn't even allow him to hear the disclaimer once I showed even the *slightest* sign of enthusiasm.

In the morning the weather is bad. You go find Desta before she has a chance to ask about it. You tell her "Oh honey, I'm so disappointed about this dumb weather! We're going to have to postpone our trip into to town. I'm so sorry. I wish we could go. But it's just not safe, sweetheart. I would never take you out driving in these conditions."
At that point, rather than solidifying the bond we had made the night before, in my dfs' mind, I've only solidified that I am a LIAR because in his mind, I clearly said the night before that we would be going. Now he's had confirmation that he can't trust me, which only impacts in a negative way his ability to attach.

She reacts angrily and childishly, which is her level of functioning currently. You are sympathetic and nonjudgmental and continue to empathize with how upset she is.
Inside the child is crying out, "Why can't she help me calm down? Because I can't count on anyone but myself, that is why." or "Aha! Now I've got her attention again...how can I manipulate her now to do what I want?"

Validating out-of-proportion feelings for a child with attachment disorder can make the child feel even more out of control, which confirms their already skewed ideas of the parent-child relationship and their need to further manipulate until their own control is regained.

Instead, when dm avoids feeding into Desta's reaction, she says, "You are going to calm down about this. You not being in control isn't going to kill you. This emotion won't eat you alive. It isn't threatening your survival. You're okay. You're safe even if you don't feel like it right now."

Desta needs to learn that her idea of what is unsafe is not reality.

When she acts inappropriately and personalizes her disappointment onto you, you say gently and firmly "Honey, I know you're upset. But that doesn't mean that it's okay for you to speak unkindly to me. I'm going to step out and get some work done around the house. If you're feeling angry, then you need to stay here in your room and cool off a bit before coming out, because it's not fair for everyone else to have to be around that. Let me know if you need anything."
I trust dm was talking Desta through this scenario as appropriate.

After some brief interval, you check in. She's still brooding. You empathize with her again. Later you check in and bring her some hot chocolate or a cookie or some other treat.
It is important to allow your child always to have opportunities to come back into your good graces, but sharing a treat together in some situations may feed into the attachment disordered child's sense of "Aha! You are giving me all the control again." The perception is going to be extreme with a child who has attachment disorder.

You tell her that you miss her company and you hope she'll come out and spend some time with you.
I may or may not have been able to do that with oldest dfs, depending on the situation. For a child whose world revolves in large part around control (to the extent that they understand survival=having complete control), this kind of statement could be heard in any number of detrimental ways. It might be fine some days, for some situations. And other days, not so much. It's great advice for those days on which it would be okay for the situation.

She comes away feeling closer to you, or at least not more alienated.
Again, this would be what would happen for the child who doesn't have RAD. The tricky thing about RAD, is that when you are parenting a child with RAD, you suddenly realize that all your old parenting tools-- the things that worked so beautifully with your other children-- suddenly render completely different reactions. Your world is turned upside down. You realize, holy crap, "left" now means "right," and everytime I say "down" it comes out "up." The obvious is no longer true. It doesn't even form a poor reflection of reality.

Then, you have to build a whole different tool set. And few instructions are out there for building it. And some instructions seem like they will be helpful but lead to the building of useless and even harmful tools. And everybody on the outside is looking in, thinking they could do it if it were only them. But they have no idea that you are working with soft rubber when everybody else in the world is working with wood, water when everyone else is working with glue, staples when everybody else is working with nails.

I do think there are some parents out there parenting kids with RAD in horrible ways. I do think it is important to try not to alienate our kids. And I do think even a child with RAD can be abused, including verbally/emotionally. But I am betting that dm, since she is here, does have a commitment to attachment parenting to the extent that it is the tool that serves her Desta best...there are just many times when that isn't the right tool, or it is the right tool but in a totally different manifestation.

You still didn't go into town. You still had her stay in her room until she could be more appropriate. The only difference is that you were attentive to and responsive to her emotional and physical needs.
But that isn't the only difference. dm definitely needs to be attentive to Desta's emotional and physical needs, but that may need to happen without being responsive to all of Desta's perceived needs. That is true for parents in general, but when RAD is involved, the situtation is trickier to such an extent that it seems almost impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it.

We're not talking about a parenting technique here. We are talking about a therapeutic method of helping Desta literally reprogram her brain (even on a physical level...parts of her brain that should be developed are not, etc.). Again, the needs of even a child at high risk for RAD vs. RAD are quite different, because actual RAD involves neurological changes.

Is AP incompatible with parenting a RAD kid? I don't think so, but I think it looks very differently than parenting a child who doesn't have RAD, and it certainly will not resemble the typical "MDC ideal."
post #37 of 104
The more I read, the more I realize I have so much to learn. I have read post from so many of these Mamas over the years, and many times take away a new nugget of truth or understanding, or at least a new way to look at things. If I might gently suggest, I think that some of the misunderstanding in approach comes from semantics. I think in some ways we are still getting caught up in what "attachment", "bonding", and "attachment parenting" mean. My understanding is that dm uses tactics that for most children would not foster attachment, but for attachment disordered children, encourages that dependence. I will be the first to admit that although we practice what I would call gentle discipline, such that we don't spank or shame, we do use time outs, raised and/or sharp voices and consequences and other practices that I know are frowned upon in other forums at MDC. These things are necessary to keep my children happy, mentally and emotionally well organized, and comfortable with themselves. I tread very carefully at MDC about discipline because of this. I do think that many misbehaviors are a message from a child but don't know that I hold to the MDC ideal that they are always a direct related message; regardless of the very valid feelings that my child may have to want to act in a certain way, some expressions of that feeling are simply not permissable to me. And sometimes my kids do have to do something simply because I say so, because I am the parent. WHiel children have equal respect in our household, they do not have equal control or accessto choices or decision making.

I tihnk part of the issue, too, comes from the fact that attachment disorders can evolve from abuse/practices etc. of a parent or caregiver. I think this is the kind we hear about most often, hence the blame placed on parents, but I know that they can also stem from "life issues" separate from their caregivers per se. More of a not something some one did to them, but something they experienced kind of thing. Do I think that parenting practices that focus on atachment can help, yes, but I think that the specifics of what helps atachment differs for these kids from typically attached/attaching kids.

My bio child was a NICU baby for over a month, with tons of painful procedures done to keep him alive. THis is sort of what I see the approach to kids with RAD as. I can remember what it felt like, wanting to just pick up and hold my baby to make it all better. But to hold him at that point in his life was physically painful and at times dangerous to his immature nervous system (and could send him crashing in terms of heartrate, oxygen levels, ad such). Soft touch was unbearably uncomfortable, so when we were able to touch him, we had to touch much harder than my gut wanted me to, because it was what was best for him at that time. I watched him cry alone and couldn't even shush him through plexiglass, as it made him dangerously sicker to touch him or even for him to hear noise when he was upset. I helped shoved tubes down his throat and pinned his arms down as they stuck him with needles. And then when he was older and had learned that all things in his mouth and on his face were horrifyingly unpleasant (including food) and to be avoided at all costs, I helped rub textures he couldn't stand and food that he was afraid of on his face and insisted he put food in his mouth and swallow it all while he cried and told me no, in an effort to keep him from being tube fed again, because he had to learn to eat and although he was nursing he needed solid food at that point. This is what I understand parenting of a RAD child to be--doing what is best for your child, regardless of what they want you to do at the time because you are the adult and it is your job to do so. Somewhere along the way, they learned not to trust something that the rest of us take for granted (food is good, Mom loves me and wants what is best for me), and instead of us as parents being able to honor that faulty conclusion (which is based on good empirical evidence and experience in their lives, BTW) we have to actively work against it to reprogram an approximate of what it is supposed to be like. I can remember when ds1 was 18m-2ish and we were doing some of this therapy, and having to tell him matter of factly that I was sorry he didn't like it, but it was something he had to do. If I gave him sympathy or appeared "soft", it would not have been successful. Is he "cured"? No, he still prefers not to eat certain textures and has to have a clean utensil for every different item on his plate. But he can make a reasonable approximation of what is expected of him culturally and socially, and at the same time is now able to eat a variety of foods so as to have a nutritionally sound diet. With RAD, I can't see that working on the attachment issues could even begin in earnest until the behavior issues are at least somewhat controlled. I know that is how ABA seems to work with autism, for example. Once the behavior is controlled enough, then the work of learning and language can begin, for example.

I think a big part of the difference is doing things for the right or wrong reason. If a parent were making certain rules, such as the extra chores, to be difficult or intentionally hurtful or whatever, that would be wrong. But to do it with the ultimate goal or helping your child succeed and learn to trust you, is what attachment parenting is all about, even if the ways to getting there are so very different.

Mamas who have been there, am I on the right path? I really want to understand this and get rid of those hidden, remaining blame the parents ideas that I may not even realize that I have. I haven't posted until now because I have been trying to take it all in and learn and understand, and I really appreciate you putting yourselves on the line so openly for us. dm, thanks for starting what has to be a very painful thread for you to be involved in.
post #38 of 104
Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
We're not talking about a parenting technique here. We are talking about a therapeutic method of helping Desta literally reprogram her brain (even on a physical level...parts of her brain that should be developed are not, etc.). Again, the needs of even a child at high risk for RAD vs. RAD are quite different, because actual RAD involves neurological changes.

Great post Sierra. I quoted the above because I am hoping others who might not read your whole post will at least read this snippet.

This whole thread has been very informative. I clicked on the 4ever family link and started reading about the warnings and red flags. It's very hard to tell what is typical behavior and what is not because so many things I read are things Gage does. I even had a very long dream about it last night.

Thank you to everyone sharing your stories and thank you to blessed for asking questions. It is a very difficult topic and I really hope the thread continues. I am learning a great deal.
post #39 of 104
Originally Posted by queencarr View Post
Mamas who have been there, am I on the right path? I really want to understand this and get rid of those hidden, remaining blame the parents ideas that I may not even realize that I have. I haven't posted until now because I have been trying to take it all in and learn and understand, and I really appreciate you putting yourselves on the line so openly for us. dm, thanks for starting what has to be a very painful thread for you to be involved in.
That was a very good analogy. When you're parenting a child with RAD, life is literally turned upside down. Not just by behaviors from the child, but by what you need to do in order to help them. It does at times seem to go against what you feel in your heart you want to do. But you're absolutly right. Even simple things like allowing my stepson to hug me whenever he wanted (things I freely allow my other children to do) was horribly detrimental to him because it put him in a position of control. Instead, I gave him hugs all the time.

The way I learned was that literally you are going back to a time where they are infants and developing. You are trying to create that bond that for whatever reason didn't solidify. Infants naturally learn to trust the adults caring for them, unless something happens in (or out) of their control and causes that attachment to fail. So many things that seem odd in parenting a child with RAD, are done to help foster attachment. Its just done in such a way that it looks completely backwards. Trust me, it looked backwards to me at first too! And thats really why on places like MDC its not talked about much. The only places that people seem to understand are forums specifically for parents dealing with children with RAD.

As a mom that lived with this for many years, I can tell you that it is hard. It was and still is, the hardest thing I've ever done. There were days I felt I just couldn't go on. There were days I felt like packing up and leaving. As much as mothering can seem to be an exhausting, neverending, thankless job at times.. no one understands how different and hard parenting a child with RAD is. Not only do they not understand, but many choose not to. Instead, they argue. They tell you how you're approach is too harsh, too cold, not enough, etc. And every single word cuts right to the bone, because you've stayed up more nights than you could ever think to count, researching, reading, learning, and trying to understand how to help your child. You're sat in on team meetings with, psychiatrists, therapists, and doctors. You've gotten the advice, but when you try to use it you realize the majority of the world is so clueless that they are now the opposition.

I never felt more alone than when I was a parent of a child with RAD.
post #40 of 104
My cable just got back up and running today after two days offline, so I was not available to step in on this one.

I think there are so many valuable pieces of information on this thread that I would hate to close it or remove it.

Let's try to re-set the discussion if there is still one to be had.

I come at this issue as a professional, not as a parent, and I can tell you, honestly, that everyone has extremely valid opinions. I can also tell you that it is oh so common to feel the urge to judge other parents when you are on the outside looking in.

Some other items: it is common to confuse the basic attachment continuum that occurs with healthy children with the attachment problems that occur in a child that has had trauma and disrupted attachments. All of us are on the attachment continuum somewhere. There are types of attachment--it is not just that you are healthy OR disordered. There is anxious attachment, ambivalent attachment, disorganized attachment. All of us have features, perhaps, based on our own parents style of raising us. Children with severe problems in attachment usually have had severe trauma that occurred IN their primary relationships. In fact, in the next diagnostic guide RAD may be replaced with a different term, along the lines of "complex developmental trauma." WHat this means is that the child with attachment problems had "proof" in their first relationships that people were unreliable at best, scary and dangerous at worst. So the child goes into next home(s) with these assumptions.

What ends up working or not working in these post adoption situations is as individual as each child and family.

There are many different 'schools of thought' in the attachment focused therapy community. Some folks are much more focused on dealing with the control and parental authority (Nancy Thomas is one). Other folks are much more focused on dealing with the developmental level of the child and empathy, empathy, empathy for the child's coping strategy. There is everything in between (love and logic, etc.) Adoptive parents living with a child with severe attachment issues often have to go through a developmental curve of their own as they figure out what works with the child they have in their home. It is a heartbreaking path for most parents facing this.

We absolutely cannot judge any one that is on this path.

Let's try returning to the topic at hand with openness, gentleness and true support for one another.

I may remove certain posts in the thread that are borderline violations of UA#1 when I have time later, so try not to do too much quoting until then.
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