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O/T: Reactive Attachment Disorder - my DD

Posted by on Mar. 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM
  • 27 Replies

My 9yo DD has RAD. I've been struggling for several months to really comprehend what is going on in her mind and why she says such mean things such as "You hate me!" or "You don't love me!"
I'm researching because of the psych course I'm taking. The professor has already given some really great parenting tips such as instead of just "No" or "Because I said so..." say "No, but, (insert what child needs to complete to receive reward/playtime, etc.)" It is working slowly with DD. DS and YDD are catching on a bit quicker.

Anywho... here's the article so that all can read and share who have children or stepchildren with this diagnosis as well.  

Attachment.

A difficult thing to understand.

A difficult thing to instill when its roots weren't grown in infancy.

To those not in the know, when a child has needs, and those needs are met by his caregiver, attachment takes place.

For example: Baby is hungry (need). Baby expresses that need by crying. Caregiver meets that need by feeding the baby, even if it's 2 in the morning. Attachment occurs.

But when those needs are not met, over and over and over again, attachment issues are likely to ensue.

Not surprisingly, about a tenth of adopted children will be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD) and will have difficulty attaching to their adoptive parents. In fact, going beyond this, without treatment, the RAD child may have difficulty forming love-based relationships throughout his or her life.

Since I have a son with RAD, I'd like to explore this issue a bit further from time to time on this blog.

Mind if I start things off with a sappy metaphor?

The Attachment Tree...



OK, so the attachment tree.

Here's the way I see it:

The parent is the tree that the child turns to for its needs.
The leaves are emotions, and they change as the weather and the seasons change: sometimes happy, sometimes sad, or angry, or frustrated. Regardless of the leaves, though, the tree remains stable, and firmly rooted to the ground. Children with RAD have difficulty with this concept, and will mistake the parent's current emotion for his underlying feelings towards him. In other words, if the parent is angry, the child feels that the parent does not love him. 

Now, remember when I mentioned those roots of attachment? Those roots are the underlying love that the parent feels for the child, and they are vital. Without the roots, the tree can't stand.

With luck, even when the tree is gone (ie, the parent has passed on), the roots still remain under ground. Not visible, but present nonetheless as the child continues to feel the love of the parent.

Unfortunately, it generally takes a good long while for the RAD child to be aware that the tree is indeed rooted to the ground. He tries to knock it down, push it over. He waits for the wind to blow it away, as so many other caregivers have gone from his life. Slowly, after many many many attempts to push the tree away, the child becomes aware that the roots hold it in place, and give permanency to its structure. 

And he begins to take comfort from the tree. From time to time, since he cannot see the roots, he begins to doubt this permanency, and attempts again to knock the tree down, or to run from its embrace. He may strike it, curse it, but if the tree is strong, it will stand. Over time, the child's doubts in what he cannot see will diminish, and he will strike out against it less, and fold into it for comfort more.

http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com/2012/03/adoption-tuesday-attachment.html 

Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.
Winston Churchill
 

by on Mar. 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM
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Replies (1-10):
chanizen
by Platinum Member on Mar. 8, 2014 at 12:38 PM
1 mom liked this
How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted?

Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.
Silent_Sea
by Gold Member on Mar. 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't have a child/step child diagnosed with RAD. I have some nieces and nephews who seem to be struggling with OCD, anxiety, ADHD and a niece we believe is on the stectrum. I do face some unique issues within my home that have some similarities. Chanizen was very supportive toward me with this when I posted about it some time ago. It is really difficult.

How are you managing emotionally? Are you seeking a support group or do you have a strong family support system?

sissy502
by on Mar. 8, 2014 at 5:24 PM
1 mom liked this

I'll be following.... useful info on how to manage my RAD child is hard to come by. Oh there is tons of info about what causes it & how to understand it. But very little info on how to actually help a family thrive when one of them is a RAD kid.

1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on Mar. 9, 2014 at 1:28 PM

I gave birth to her almost 10 years ago. She suffered abuse by a family member who is in prison. Her BD was in and out of her life for her first 4 years and has been MIA for 5 1/2 years now. 
We've moved several times, changed school systems, etc because of being renters and not owning a house. Grandpa passed away and our blended family was torn apart.
I don't know if you remember my stich at all... if not, I can PM you. You'll remember me then. ;)
Also, she was a colicy baby for about 6 months and that is another huge factor in causes that can lead to RAD. The rest just piled up as time went on.  

Quoting chanizen: How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted? Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.


Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.
Winston Churchill
 

1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on Mar. 9, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Emotionally, I am hurt many times a week. I try not to lose my temper and raise my voice at all. My family is supportive and have begun to offer to have her overnight, and possibly a week or two in the summer just to allow me to have a break. 
I do have a therapist, and a professor who is a psychologist as well. I have anxiety d/o and it doesn't mix well with the outbursts and episodes of DD needing complete control. It is really difficult!

My DS has ADHD, ODD, Anxiety d/o also... He has medications. DD doesn't. Psychologist hasn't provided anything and I don't even know if they do for RAD. I think she may be too young for mood stabilizers still.  

Quoting Silent_Sea:

I don't have a child/step child diagnosed with RAD. I have some nieces and nephews who seem to be struggling with OCD, anxiety, ADHD and a niece we believe is on the stectrum. I do face some unique issues within my home that have some similarities. Chanizen was very supportive toward me with this when I posted about it some time ago. It is really difficult.

How are you managing emotionally? Are you seeking a support group or do you have a strong family support system?


Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.
Winston Churchill
 

1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on Mar. 9, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I've started following one mom's blog. She has adopted a child with RAD and gives a lot of insight and suggestions for positively dealing with different behaviors. 

http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com/ 

The "Adoption" posts have the most and best information

Quoting sissy502:

I'll be following.... useful info on how to manage my RAD child is hard to come by. Oh there is tons of info about what causes it & how to understand it. But very little info on how to actually help a family thrive when one of them is a RAD kid.


Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.
Winston Churchill
 

Polkadotted
by Gold Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Out of curiosity, did you let her CIO when she was colicy? I know I have read articles on CIO  leading to ADHD.  But I am seeing a lot of kids in preschool that are raging angry. A few that I have mentioned as possible RAD kids by the way they interact and react.  Most of them are coming out of blended family situations where one parent is MIA or there was major abuse of some kind. OSD is on my watch list also.  She has a lot of the symptoms.  I know BM and DH did a lot of CIO or were more tuned into games.  sigh, and that is when they were passable parents.

Quoting 1SpaZZedMom:

I gave birth to her almost 10 years ago. She suffered abuse by a family member who is in prison. Her BD was in and out of her life for her first 4 years and has been MIA for 5 1/2 years now. We've moved several times, changed school systems, etc because of being renters and not owning a house. Grandpa passed away and our blended family was torn apart. I don't know if you remember my stich at all... if not, I can PM you. You'll remember me then. ;) Also, she was a colicy baby for about 6 months and that is another huge factor in causes that can lead to RAD. The rest just piled up as time went on.  

Quoting chanizen: How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted? Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.


Silent_Sea
by Gold Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 2:25 PM

 What s CIO?

Quoting Polkadotted:

Out of curiosity, did you let her CIO when she was colicy? I know I have read articles on CIO  leading to ADHD.  But I am seeing a lot of kids in preschool that are raging angry. A few that I have mentioned as possible RAD kids by the way they interact and react.  Most of them are coming out of blended family situations where one parent is MIA or there was major abuse of some kind. OSD is on my watch list also.  She has a lot of the symptoms.  I know BM and DH did a lot of CIO or were more tuned into games.  sigh, and that is when they were passable parents.

Quoting 1SpaZZedMom:

I gave birth to her almost 10 years ago. She suffered abuse by a family member who is in prison. Her BD was in and out of her life for her first 4 years and has been MIA for 5 1/2 years now. We've moved several times, changed school systems, etc because of being renters and not owning a house. Grandpa passed away and our blended family was torn apart. I don't know if you remember my stich at all... if not, I can PM you. You'll remember me then. ;) Also, she was a colicy baby for about 6 months and that is another huge factor in causes that can lead to RAD. The rest just piled up as time went on.  

Quoting chanizen: How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted? Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.

 

Polkadotted
by Gold Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM

cry it out

Quoting Silent_Sea:

 What s CIO?

Quoting Polkadotted:

Out of curiosity, did you let her CIO when she was colicy? I know I have read articles on CIO  leading to ADHD.  But I am seeing a lot of kids in preschool that are raging angry. A few that I have mentioned as possible RAD kids by the way they interact and react.  Most of them are coming out of blended family situations where one parent is MIA or there was major abuse of some kind. OSD is on my watch list also.  She has a lot of the symptoms.  I know BM and DH did a lot of CIO or were more tuned into games.  sigh, and that is when they were passable parents.

Quoting 1SpaZZedMom:

I gave birth to her almost 10 years ago. She suffered abuse by a family member who is in prison. Her BD was in and out of her life for her first 4 years and has been MIA for 5 1/2 years now. We've moved several times, changed school systems, etc because of being renters and not owning a house. Grandpa passed away and our blended family was torn apart. I don't know if you remember my stich at all... if not, I can PM you. You'll remember me then. ;) Also, she was a colicy baby for about 6 months and that is another huge factor in causes that can lead to RAD. The rest just piled up as time went on.  

Quoting chanizen: How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted? Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.



1SpaZZedMom
by Librarian on Mar. 9, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Rarely did I let her cry it out. I'd nurse, bathe her, rock her, change her, lay with her on the couch... Try the bouncer and swing... 

I'm not a fan of letting a baby CIO and leave them be. They need the comfort and secure feeling IMHO. :) 

Quoting Polkadotted:

Out of curiosity, did you let her CIO when she was colicy? I know I have read articles on CIO  leading to ADHD.  But I am seeing a lot of kids in preschool that are raging angry. A few that I have mentioned as possible RAD kids by the way they interact and react.  Most of them are coming out of blended family situations where one parent is MIA or there was major abuse of some kind. OSD is on my watch list also.  She has a lot of the symptoms.  I know BM and DH did a lot of CIO or were more tuned into games.  sigh, and that is when they were passable parents.

Quoting 1SpaZZedMom:

I gave birth to her almost 10 years ago. She suffered abuse by a family member who is in prison. Her BD was in and out of her life for her first 4 years and has been MIA for 5 1/2 years now. We've moved several times, changed school systems, etc because of being renters and not owning a house. Grandpa passed away and our blended family was torn apart. I don't know if you remember my stich at all... if not, I can PM you. You'll remember me then. ;) Also, she was a colicy baby for about 6 months and that is another huge factor in causes that can lead to RAD. The rest just piled up as time went on.  

Quoting chanizen: How was did your dd wind up with RAD? Was she adopted? Good article and a good indicator of why some skids might struggle with behavior if they have no roots in one or both homes.


Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.
Winston Churchill
 

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