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RAD: Healing the Foundation

reactive attachment disorder (rad) Nov 06, 2022
woman petting camel

An old Bedouin metaphor says: Never let a camel get his nose in your tent." In the US we say, “Give them an inch and they will take a mile”. Truer words were never spoken when it comes to working with a child with RAD! RAD children have massive trust issues. They choose to rule. They want to rule their siblings, parents, teachers and the world.


Control Fuels Their Pathology

The more control we give children with RAD the sicker and more out of control they get. Parents often share with me how much their sick child loves to babysit younger children! Of course they do!! Controlling others makes them feel powerful and yet, it fuels their pathology. I do not have the children control another living being until they have self-control. They sure are not going to lead the little ones on the right path when they, themselves are on the wrong one!


Building Self Control

How do we help them develop self-control? We use the Brain Based Behavior Interventions (3BI)! Traditional Behavior Modification techniques have been proven worthless because the cause and effect part of the brain gets interfered with during development with our trauma effected children. It basically does not develop when a child under three years old is in survival mode too much! Untrained teachers and parents have tried it repeatedly with no positive results. Punishments (spanking etc.) cause even more problems because they already have trust issues from too much pain. More pain or suffering dished out by even the most patient parents just backfires as it reinforces broken trust from their past. They have to learn to trust in order to heal. Where do we start?


Where Do We Start?

We start with RESPECT. Respect is the foundation for trust and trust is the foundation for love. When our little ones get their foundation cracked with too much fear and pain during the early development of the brain we see problems. We see lying, stealing, hitting, cussing, defiance, destruction and disrespect. We see stressed out exhausted parents, and teachers quitting their job. We see unskilled therapists blaming the child’s lack of progress on the parents. We have to focus on healing the problem NOT the symptoms. The problem is the foundation of love, attachment, connection that is all based on trust. It’s like the attachment is the concrete for the foundation of the building and the trust is the bedrock that the concrete sits on. BOTH have to be super strong or they crack and there are problems. The bigger the cracks, the bigger the behavior problems until we do the repair work. (No, dynamite is not an option!)

Rebuild that bedrock and foundation with respect (Yes, Mom, May I please.. excuse me Dad…proper table manners, etc) We make the concrete strong by building trust. No threats, mean what you say. Do NOT tell them anything ahead of time (if it is cancelled when you said it would happen, in their eyes, you are a liar and cannot be trusted!) We must have control of ourselves and our emotions so we are not scary and threatening. Yes! That means we can’t loose it and scream them up one side and down the other. Powerful, loving, leaders help them feel safe and protected. When we are trustworthy we can earn their trust.


Focus on the Little Things

All these years I specialized in helping the most violent children. I focused on stopping the little things. When we focus on the little things we don’t get the big things. I would rather stop them from poor table setting than to stop them from killing my dog! Never let a camel get their nose in your tent. Focus on the little things!

For more info on 3BI check it out here.

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