Originally Posted by queencarr
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.