I may have discussed Riley and his RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) in other posts. I should probably discuss it more, as it is often a big factor in our daily lives.
Reactive Attachment Disorder is the result of a child not forming meaningful attachments when they are small (usually before the age of five). It happens very often with children in orphanages, but can also happen to children in foster care, adopted children, children of divorce, or children with a chronically ill parent or caregiver. Basically the child learns that their needs cannot be met by the adults in their lives, so they don’t bother bonding with those adults and choose to spend time alone as they grow older.
- Withdrawing from others
- Avoiding or dismissing comforting comments or gestures
- Acting aggressively toward peers
- Watching others closely but not engaging in social interaction
- Failing to ask for support or assistance
- Obvious and consistent awkwardness or discomfort
- Masking feelings of anger or distress
- Alcohol or drug abuse in adolescents
It took us several years to finally figure out that this was Riley. Everybody he met, who didn’t know him very well, told us how sweet he was. He was sweet …. to other people … until they didn’t give him what he wanted. Kids with RAD have the ability to turn on the charm when they want something and once they realize that certain people aren’t going to let them get away with things, they will hate them forever (or close to forever).
Riley is nearly seventeen years old and sometimes I feel like we haven’t made any difference at all. Just this past week, he has been really crappy acting to me … but offers to help other people. It’s typical Riley behavior, but it still breaks my heart.
Teenagers are bad enough. A teenager with RAD can be living hell.
When he gets like this, we don’t want to be around him, but we know that we need to be around him and he needs to be around us. The easier thing would be to let him just sit in his room and fume about how mad he is at us, but nobody EVER said that this parenting thing was going to be easy, and if somebody has actually said that then they need a really good slap in the face.
So I have declared tomorrow to be family day. We are going to spend the entire day together as a family (all seven of us) – cooking, eating, cleaning, playing games, swimming, watching a movie, and going to the park.
I sent this text to Derek earlier:
tell the boys to not even ask to go anywhere tomorrow because the answer is NO … we are having family day … DAMMIT !!
his response is not suitable for posting
I warned him that if ANYBODY complains then we will have another family day on Sunday ….. muahahahahahaha.