Eggshells or Shoes?

Around here the fun never ends.  We’re either walking on eggshells or waiting for the other shoe to drop.  The latest episode, on top of ongoing passive-aggressive behavior about grades is DH missing $5.00 from his wallet.  RADKid is undoubtedly guilty and undoubtedly thinks he got away with it.  We’re just waiting for the escalation.  It’s a great feeling.  Undoubtedly the fact that we haven’t heard from the police about the stolen property we turned over last month has The Kid thinking he got away with it.  He’s above the law.  He’s a rebel.  It’s an ego trip that is not going to end well.

Another great feeling is called “completely unsupported”.  We’re in a position where the incompetent therapist wants an Individualized Education Plan but the school can’t grasp the severity of the Reactive Attachment problem – because our kid exhibits the classic “compliant when it suits him” symptoms.  He stays out of trouble at school which makes our problems elsewhere more pronounced.  He’s got an alliance of teachers, counselors and other educators that don’t see what the problem is so they won’t be part of the solution.



October 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Fun Times!

Have you ever had one of those days where the whole world seems like it is against you?  Nothing works correctly.  No one has the answers.  And, best of all, there’s a bunch of hand-wringing and sorrowful faces or worse – ambivalent shrugs from people who’ve been let off the hook by procedure, policy, laws or what-not.

Raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder puts parents in that position every single day.  I can’t remember the last time our family enjoyed a truly good, relaxing – dare I say it? – fun day as a family.  Our RADKid has been grounded since his Breaking and Entering attempt Labor Day weekend.  He earned an extension when my darling husband found and confiscated stolen property in his bedroom.  He’ll get a third, indefinite, extension because he’s failing Algebra (a course he’s taking for the second time) and earning a D in Spanish because he’s simply not doing his homework.  He chooses not to.  Of course, he bitches incessantly in his own passive-aggressive way about how being grounded sucks but he won’t modify his behavior so our hands are really tied.

So what would you do as a parent?  Go to the school for help?  Special Education resources maybe?  Individualized Education Plan, perhaps?  Those all sound like great ideas except for one thing.  Here in the State of Washington, our RAD Kid is above the age of consent.  He is 15.  At 13, he must consent to treatment of any kind, sign releases for his therapist and the school district to exchange information for the purposes of developing a 504 plan or an IEP.  He must consent / can refuse consent to implement the IEP.  He is refusing to sign a consent at this point.  As his parents, legally, we can do nothing. Certainly coercion is an option but that’s hardly healthy for the parent-child relationship, right?

Put yourself in my shoes, readers.  Suggestions?

October 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

RADical Updates Part 2

Hilarity ensues.  DH asks the Czar where this stuff came from, and of course the Czar refuses to tell him.  Hubby’s plan was to get the Czar to tell him where he’d stolen the things from and take him around to those places to return them.  The child, of course, refused.  Then he went down the hall to his room, walked back out and handed his dad an unknown amount of foreign currency (mostly South American) that he’d taken from “an old, broken down house”.  And if DH was “a dad, he wouldn’t be doing this but he’s just an asshole.”  It was GRAND, I tell you.  Just GRAND!

The Czar takes off, telling his dad he’s headed for the police station so DH calls and tells the police that The Czar is on his way.  The Czar calls these same police and tells them that his dad hit him.  I wish.  So where it stands right now is that the stolen property has been turned over to the local police and a report has been filed.  Supposedly the Czar won’t have a third chance at diversion so hopefully he can get a taste of Juvie jail before he’s sixteen and gets big boy jail.

Strange, isn’t it?  What parents of RADKids have to hope for.

October 1, 2010 at 11:39 am 2 comments

Updates on my RADical life

In the past five months, our lives have been chaotic at best.  Beginning just before my last post at the beginning of June, May 26th; to be precise, our RAD Kid decided it would be a stellar idea to beat up his former best friend as they were getting off the bus.  The boys were friends, the parents were friends so what part of screwing that up doesn’t sound just stellar?

Difficult conversations were had that day.  Not with the RAD kid because he doesn’t process those things.  Despite two years of therapy and two years with our family, he still is incapable of processing “If A, then B” or “If I want to achieve this/ have this/ do this, then this is what I have to do”.  My conversations, because DH was on AT of course, were with the neighbor kid’s mom and with the police begging them to press charges and incarcerate him.

Imagine that feeling?  Being a parent.  Having a troubled (disturbed isn’t a stretch) child that you love, begging the system to help you.  What would you want to happen in that case?  What are your expectations?

What we got is nothing.  Despite telling the police that the Czar needs jail.  Not deserves, mind you, NEEDS.  He needs the jail experience.  He was referred to diversion for the January incident.  He learned nothing.  The requirements of the program were that he continue therapy.  Big deal.  I told the police this.

So what happens?  He’s sent to diversion again.  Only this time it takes longer to get the letter in the mail so the reasons for it are well removed from the Czar’s mind.  The assault (the charge was 4th degree) happened May 26, he didn’t meet with the diversion committee until August 26.  By this time he’d completely forgotten about it so managing the confusion was a little fun.  To help him try to process consequences, we did make him pay the $150 diversion fee which cleaned out his iPod Touch savings account.  They also required him to attend a “Decision Making Class”.

Labor Day weekend, he was with some friends and that’s always dangerous.  Bored kids are a bad thing and these particular kids decided that they wanted to go inside an old school building (currently school district administrative offices) and “look around”.  Of course the Czar was the first one in.  The one that tried the door, found it locked and gave the old thing a tug hard enough to pull it open and set off the alarm.  Breaking and Entering FTW!  He was removed from the building in handcuffs but eventually let off with a warning.

Our discussion of logical consequences was super fun.  The Czar didn’t think that there should be any.  I grounded him for a month.  His reply “I think that’s a little harsh.”  The alternative I offered was 6 months.  Needless to say, he’s grounded for a month.

That Decision Making Class was super effective.  The Czar got smart with his Dad the day after he completed it.  DH asked him for something and the Czar refused to go get it.  Here’s how it played out:

“You can’t go in my room.”

“It’s not your room.  You don’t pay rent.  That makes it my room and if there’s something in there that I need and you won’t give it to me, I’ll go get it myself.”

So DH goes in to the lovely teenager’s room and tries opening the closet door.  It’s stuck so he goes to the other side of the closet.  Presto!  A cache of stolen property!

September 30, 2010 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

Other Kinds of Therapy

My first Digital Stamping experience

I like to medicate myself in many different ways and playing with paper is one of them.  A friend from PTA over at Handful of Stamps has turned me on to digital stamps so I took her challenge and made this card.  I don’t know whether I prefer it colored or black and white like a pen and ink sketch  but I definitely love the hot pink and black.  Your thoughts?

June 11, 2010 at 10:42 am 1 comment

New Challenge

One of the fun things about being an Army Family is that you get to move – a LOT! And, in our case, you get to move all over the place. Every house is a new organizational challenge. This house is no exception. The problem is, as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, I really have no excuse other than the children.

One of the fun things about parenting a child with RAD is that they get very defiant on a regular basis. Chores are ignored or not done well and it’s “good enough”. Our RAD kid refuses to accept criticism of any sort or accept responsibility for any of his actions. Ever. Even asking him to do dishes can be a challenge.

So I’ll be taking on a new challenge over the next few days (with! pictures!). I’m going to organize my house by applying Lean Six Sigma Methods – 5S, Visual Controls, etc.

My goal is to spend 60-90 minutes in one area every day on a 5S activity and photograph it when I am done as the visual control piece. The visual controls will hopefully serve as checks for the children on whether their chores are done well enough. If it matches the picture, he’s finished. Wish me Luck! And like always, pray for my sanity.

February 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

RAD in Pictures

The most frustrating thing about Reactive Attachment Disorder is how it manifests itself through emotions.  When a RAD kid is in your house, honestly it’s day-to-day.  Some days you get this:

And some days you get this:
Sometimes, you get both in the same day:


These pictures were less than an hour apart.

It’s like a crazy roller-coaster that you didn’t ask to ride and can’t get off.  How do I cope?  I will admit not always very well.  Until recently, we had become very hermit-like as a family because when you just don’t know how the Czar will choose to behave in a given situation.  Gambling isn’t our nature.  But now we’re taking the perspective that being hermit-like give him control.  We’re going to do what we want to do and when his behavior choices make him unpleasant to be with, we will find someone to watch him and go anyway.

I’m open to suggestions.

February 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

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