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parenting reactive attachment disorder (rad) Oct 19, 2022

Our children often do things that we don’t understand! Parents often ask them “why” they did it. The reply is not helpful and usually causes more frustration or confusion for exhausted parents.


 When we ask an emotionally disturbed child why they did something, it implies there is a logical reason. Often there is NO logical reason so they make up something or guess what the answer should be. I often have parents share with me during our phone consultations the “reasons” the child says they did an inappropriate behavior and those are even more concerning than what they actually did!


There is NO answer! There was no forethought or logic involved in the event to explain their actions. It frequently can make a child feel “stupid” or “weird” that they don’t have an answer.


So, when a parent asks, both the parent and child lose in this situation. With a neurotypical child it is certainly different but with our challenging children we need to be aware.


Think about it. “Why did you hit your brother?” “Because I hate him!”  “That is not a good enough reason!! WHY!!”  “Because he gave me a hate look!”  “THAT IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON! WHY!!!”  “BECAUSE……” and voices are raised, stress is created all around and we get nowhere trying to understand the problem.


I will tell you the answer so you will not have to ask. The answer is; because they are sick and need your help to build self-control, compassion and frustration tolerance. Are we showing them those skills when we lose it and scream at them demanding an answer to a question that has none for them? NOPE!


Instead of “why” I like to ask; “What happened?” That has an answer and they were there so they can demonstrate honesty and accept responsibility for their actions.  I can then be proud and give a huge hug! I then have them come up with an act of kindness to take care of whatever the inappropriate behavior was. I give another hug and we move on!

Why!? Because I said so! (LOL)

Keep your sunny side up!


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