Thursday, February 10, 2011

Abused Parents and RAD

That is how I feel, "abused". Harsh, but true-so true that those words are simply stated in the book that I am reading. To be exact, "Parents of Attachment disorder children often appear unreasonably angry. Probably because the more they love their child, the more pain the child dishes out to get them to stop. The child believes love hurts, as it did when his heart were broken as an infant. They don't use the parents' love to grow emotionally strong. Parents are basically abused in their own home." Wow, another strong statement and so true as to the anger and hurt we feel in our own home. I also read that there is a very high incidence of divorce in families who have children diagnosed with RAD. I believe it!!! We have had so many fights which have nothing to do with each other but rather how to handle and take care of Trenton. It has us feeling so damaged, broken, and torn. We now know it's important for us to take time for each other, as well as time for ourselves. The first chapter of the book speaks about how you need to take "me" time to keep your sanity and remain calm. You should also have "trained" respite providers but we have been cautioned that "untrained" providers can undo the hard work you have completed thus far.

So, what is RAD and what causes it? RAD is basically the inability for individuals to form long lasting relationships. This may be a reason why Trenton has no friends as schools and struggles to interact appropriately and at his current age level. In addition, RAD occurs in children who typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust. They do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue. This is why it is so easy for Trenton to act out or do something he know he shouldn't and just look at you and say "oh well, I don't care".

I will tread lightly when I speak of what I believe to be the cause of his RAD. This is only MY assessment of what I feel has traumatized Trenton in his past and is based off of information I have read. I was not in his life for his first year and half and cannot speak for others as to what could have possibly happened to him before he lived with Jonnie at the age of four. Again, this is my speculation. What I do know is bonding begins in utero and can have a direct effect on the bonding ability and personality of the child. "Drug or alcohol exposure, maternal stress, or an unwanted pregnancy can damage the developing child". His mother was pregnant with him when she was 18 and because she and Jonnie were not together during the time of her pregnancy I can't say one way or another if any of those issues were to blame. What I can say is that I know it wasn't a planned pregnancy. In addition, some of the following issues that occur to a child under the age of 36 months can cause further damage and puts them at high risk for RAD; physical or emotional abuse, neglect, several moves/placements/daycare providers, or an unprepared mother with poor parenting skills. Your guess is as good as mine.

So, where does that leave the child? It leaves then unable to open up to love, trust and care with their maternal figure. In this case, the "real mom", which is me. Even though the difficulties are with his biological mother, their past history, and current relationship-he will take his anger out on the "real mom" as I try to love him. These children allow no one to control them, they manipulate, control and have little or no conscience development. All signs that Trenton has. He most definitely has control issues which have been highly documented in the home and school setting with us, teachers and classroom peers.

So, that leaves me tonight with sign number two that we have highlighted as something that he exhibits. "Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers. They do not go through the healthy stranger anxiety period an infant goes through. As older children they hug strangers (he does this all the time) and school principals and anyone else they feel they can get on their side, against their mom." He hugged the therapist the first night she was here with him!!!!!!!!!!!!! She looked at me when he walked away and simply made a comment about how most 10 year old children would just roll their eyes at a therapist there to "help them" and gladly see them out the door. Not Trenton, she was his best friend and he clung to her side the entire time she was here. I began to contemplate if I had ever noticed that before. I did, but I always assumed he was a friendly kid-not scared of strangers. I soon realized that with Luke he does have stranger anxiety but with Trenton, he would go with or to anyone you introduced him to. Especially now that I see him hugging "strangers" I realized...that is kinda weird for a kid that is heading into the sixth grade...right???

Well, enough for tonight. Thanks for listening to my story. This is therapeutic for me-that's for sure. Keep the encouraging words coming!

Lastly, on a side note...Luke is doing really well and continues to grow like a weed. Today was crazy hair day and tomorrow is hat day at his school. He is learning his letters, colors and numbers and always adds new words to his vocabulary every day. He tests us at times but seems to respond well to "time outs". He is a loving child and we are now bound and determined, more than ever, to raise him in a loving, nurturing, and well adjusted home!


  1. It really sounds like some things are slowly making sense for you. I can't imagine the stress this must put on you guys. I'll never forget meeting Trenton for the first time. So sweet! Of course he loved trains or something if I recall. He was so little. You're doing an amazing job! Keep your strength up!

  2. You are so strong Jill, you really are! Just remember that when things are the roughest. And I LOVE that you and your man are concentrating on each other as well. The more love you have together, the more you can give out. Hang in there friend. And if you ever get down just think of your college boyfriend Bob! HA! (That was his name, right?!)

  3. Jill, I am relieved to hear that you can make sense of you and your family's pain and suffering after all of these years. You are a super caring, wonderful mother and person. You have never given up on Trenton or your family. I hope you can finally be rest assured that you have been doing the absolute best job that you can with the resources you had. Now it's time for you and your family to heal. It won't ever be easy, but it has to get better. I miss you and love you. Wishing you only the best. I'll always be here.

  4. Jill, your family really is an inspiration to others. I love that you are so transparent about this and willing to share your struggles openly. Trenton is a blessed boy to have two parents who love him so deeply. I will keep your family in my prayers for strength and endurance! Remember, we have to go through the valleys to get to the mountaintops :)