Sunday, June 10, 2012

What does RAD look like?

I have a lot of people ask me what RAD (reactive attachment disorder) look like?  That is a million dollar question!!!  And with that I could give away free help to many who face it daily!!!!

RAD is just a bunch of letters really.  And every child/person experiences it differently.  Every family deals with it differently.  Sometimes it doesn't show up for looonnnnnggggg periods of time.  Sometimes it rears its ugly head daily.

For is an occasional thing.  Well Dawn that is pretty vague isn't it?  YES!  As vague as understanding FAS, PTSD, ADHD, Tourettes, and loads of other "things".  They are all completely different from person to person!  So the timing of it.  Sometimes it is more often.  Other times we can go months and months and months and not even see a trace of it. 

You see I have a child with ADHD and it is constant.  I have children with dyslexia and it is constant.  I have a child with lots of special needs and it is constant.  RAD- not so much!

Today was going fine.  Until I discovered that a certain couple of kiddos were not putting away laundry.  Instead they were shoving it in a drawer hoping no one noticed.  Not a big deal in and of itself.  Easily solved by putting the clothes away and a simple apology for not obeying.  RIGHT?  Yep, that would be where I was wrong because that is where my child went a little nuts.

What do I mean nuts? starts off as throwing a little fit.  Much like a 2 year old would do (except they are older than 2).  Then it starts boiling.  You know the moment where you can put the lid on it and squelch the fire or you can feed it!!!  I chose not to feed it because I know what I am supposed to do and this time actually did it.  **Note to self- having a child with RAD does not mean you are perfect and react perfectly all the time!  :)

I slowed down, spoke softly, reminded them that this was not a big deal in that we could fix this together and move on.  Hmmmm.......that would be where the fire in their eyes FLARES!  I mean FLARES as in a firecracker going off.  They look at me as if I just cut of a finger and poured salt on it.  This is the point when you's happening.....RAD is going to rage.  A rage is unlike a disagreement.  It is unlike having spats with your children or spouse.  It is like all of a sudden dealing with a drunk person who has NO common sense left.  Although it is not a drunk.  There instead is a child in front of you going into RAGE!

There is no rhyme or reason for this particular rage.  It just happens.  They will SCREAM (ummm think so loudly that if we were your neighbors you might be scared.  So if you are our neighbors don't be scared- pray!), then they will lash out at you or anything in your way (think they can break at young ages boards, put holes in walls, hurt grown people easily, throw anything across the room breakable or not doesn't matter heavy or not, and well that should get the point across). This can continue for a few minutes (I can dream right?) or for hours.  Our child who struggles with RAD tends to rage for 30 minutes.  Crazy huh?  Yep, I can time it. 

Now lest you are sitting there thinking we have a raging lunatic on our hands.  We do.....but it is way more complicated than that!  It is a child who can not trust.  It is a scared babe who wants soooo desperately what their brothers and sisters have, but feels they can't.  It is NOT something that they feels they can fix.  It is often not something parents feel they can fix.  Which is hard- because I believe the only real solution.........GOD, prayer, time, healing, patience, extra love, reading a lot of books from people who get it, getting support, asking questions from those who get it, and knowing that I still love them NO MATTER WHAT!

***Disclaimer- I have many many friends who did ALL OF THE ABOVE!!  They sacrificed money, time, and other family members trying to help their dear precious children heal.  At the end of it all for various reasons and severe cases they had to let the child go.  Go to another placement.  Go to a treatment facility.  In my opinion (and I am fffaarrrrrr from an expert) we can all choose to respond to God's healing.  Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't.  You can not force someone to respond no matter how desperately you want it for them- for you!!!!  NEVER doubt that you tried.  That you gave it EVERYTHING you had!!!  Just for clarification because I know of the deep sorrow many of you have faced.  Not first hand, but I have heard your pleas and cries and read your stories.  I know God can heal everything, but there still has to be an open responder.  Just like any other child we have too- right?

OK- so our child that struggles with RAD.  Oh how I love them sooo much more than they know!  I love so many things about them.  I also know they need my help.  My help to not give up on themself.  (Again this is not life threatening as it is in some cases). 

I have a philosophy when it comes to my child that love them more than they or myself deserve!  To dream for them of healing, and pray expecting it!!!!  To know that NO MATTER WHAT I will be there for them and LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!  To do my best to react appropriately and with as much care as I can.  To fight for them (spiritually, physically, and mentally)!!!!  To just continue helping them heal as best as I can knowing the ULTIMATE HEALER AS MY FATHER!!!

Hey, think I am crazy?  That's fine.  It's been said before a thousand times.  What I know for sure is that I LOVE MY CHILDREN NO MATTER WHAT!  In our case there is not the type of physical danger there are in very extreme cases.  We have made progress over time.  First off I have educated myself!  WAHOO!  Because when it first started happening at the age of 1 (ummm...yes it is not just older children) we didn't recognize it at all.  No clue why they threw the fits, but just thought of it as an extended and a lot more intense little child fit.

We have worked out some things that work for us.

My reaction (prayerfully) is better.
I have those I know I can call, email, or send out a prayer request and they are on it!
My knowledge of why they are acting this way- I may not fully understand, but I do as much as I can without being them.

Their reactions have started changing.....
First off.....they are remorseful after the rage- THIS IS HUGE!!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!!!
They have started more eye contact.  Not the greatest, but much much better- PRAISE JESUS!!!!
Lying to my face- happens a lot with eye contact I might add ....still, but after the rage or some time they will admit to the lie- again THIS IS HUGE STUFF!!!! 

So I know healing is taking place.  So what do I do from here....keep praying, keep reading and reminding myself that they desperately need me even when all it seems is that they don't want my love, keep asking friends and family for prayer, keep choosing to remember that I will choose JOY in the midst of this trial, remember that I too rebel against God's love and HE- PRAISE GOD- still accepts me!!!

So right now.....I am going to go take a breather before church.  I pray this gives you a  glimpse into what RAD is.  NOT TO SCARE YOU!!!  NO WAY!!!!  If you are equipped for the battle that is half the battle!!!  To let you in on our reality!!!  To allow you to pray for us.  To allow you to know that it is not a joke or a figment of your imagination because this is what I used to think.  As if we were the only ones who just couldn't figure it out.  That is a hard place to be.  In our case as in many cases unless I tell you about it no one would ever know.  They do not rage in public or in front of others (my child doesn't).

So there you have it.  Pray your Sunday afternoons are going great!  Praising God for HIS FAITHFULNESS!  For HIS HEALING!  For HIS LOVE FOR ME!  For way more BLESSINGS than I deserve to have!  Praise God in ALL THINGS not just when it is convenient.

***PRAYING for all of those who actually have daily struggles with your child(ren) from the 'hard places'.

****I tried not to use anything to personal.  It is not my intent to put my child's heart out there for everyone to see.  On the contrary I want to protect their heart from hurts.  That is why I used they, their, etc.  We have 1 child who struggles with RAD.


  1. I have a few friends who are dealing with this and wonder if there might have one that some issues in this area, but ever so slight. Thankful this issue is coming to light so that more children can be helped. Thanks for this post. Will be sharing this one for sure!

  2. I love that you give us ways to pray for you sweet friend!!!!

  3. Great post! People NEED to know what, exactly, it is that so many of us are dealing with. At our house . . . we might go a few days or a week without a RAGE, but sometimes (as in this week) it is a DAILY challenge . . . RAGING day after day after day. And, ours gets physical to the point of injuring others. Oh.So.Hard.

    Hugs & Prayers to you, Sweet Friend,

    Laurel :)

  4. Thank you for describing what it's like to parent children with RAD. I have three suffering from RAD and other trauma-related issues. For the first three years, we had RAGE pretty much all day, every day, with virtually daily physical assaults--mostly on mom--for the first two-and-a-half years. At four years, we are seeing rage several times per week, but without the degree of destruction that we used to have. Though I continue to pray for instant and complete healing, all healing is miraculous, and I am deeply thankful for each day that God heals my children's hearts and minds just a little more. It is as hard for them to trust God as it is for them to trust people, but little by little, the trust grows. A step forward, a step back, day after day. Days on which I get it right; days on which I don't; all days on which God fills in the gaps and pours out mercy and grace. (I, too, thought I must be a failure as a mom because my kids couldn't function anything like "normal" kids.)

    Prayer is so important. There have been so many days on which the knowledge that someone is praying for us has been the lifeline that has kept me going--even though I was too exhausted to string together enough thoughts to form a prayer myself--relying on the Holy Spirit's prayer on my behalf. A sincere offer of prayer is like a beautiful pearl.

  5. I used a short excerpt and linked to you today. Thanks again for your transparency.


    :) :) :)

  6. I can relate... What is it about laundry? lol. we had a two hour RAD scream fest over folding a dish towel Friday. I gave her an out... I would fold it if she could not willingly do it right, but with a little exchanged tagged to it and that was what flipped her lid. I wouldn't call it a rage, but it was close. I had to direct her away from the house to protect the babies from the fearfulness of witnessing such a drama. The fact that I could, in fact, get her to the trampoline and was able to get her to stay there (mostly) kind of tells me this was not a true rage. My husband and I just kind of stood back and watched the lunacy and shook our heads. Poor, poor child. There was nothing we could do until her fervor was cooled. I am so thankful that it isn't everyday anymore. And yes, our approach to dealing with this stuff has changed in the last two years. We are different people because of it, but in a good way.

  7. Good post Dawn. Our RADish rages at least 1.5 hours. I think schedule helps. When She has fits, it seems to be when we are overworked with a project, and she is feeling a little neglected...hungry and tired also affect it I think. We have rest/nap time for ALL ages at our house. When it it skipped a few days, for appts, etc., we definately pay for it.
    Interestingly enough, Our RADish was adopted at age 13 months--our youngest at adoption....and also has ADHD--ARGH!!!

  8. GREAT post Dawn! My sister has slight RAD. It's so hard to see her rage, and see the hurt and distrust in her eyes. It's hard to see my mom get hurt, and mean words be spoken to me and other siblings.

    Thank you for expressing your thoughts, and sharing the details of RAD. Everyone DOES experience it differently.

    Blessings and Prayers for your little one,