January 23, 2018

Can’t Get Your Kid To Go To School? Do What We Do!

Healing TrustThis morning our RAD kid decided he wasn’t going to school. We’ve struggled with this before, and now Nancy Thomas has given us the answer. At least it worked this time! I think it’s a great technique for Oppositional Defiant Disorder kiddos too. It should work for any kid that wants to have control.

The most important thing to do is not to argue with them. That’s what they want – it’s where they feel comfortable – in an argument or conflict. So what you do is act excited for them to be home. Here’s how it went for us this morning:

He likes to help make coffee, and we told him “Great! You’re really good at making coffee! There are a lot of jobs you can do without a high school education that need you to be able to make coffee! Like working at McDonalds. You could get a job at McDonalds and work there for your whole life. Everything you need to know to do that we can teach you at home – how to scrub the floor, how to make coffee, and how to clean the bathrooms. In fact, we have four of them in our house that you can practice on, and we can get started today! Cool!”

Guess what? You’re right – he went to school! And cheerfully, at that. You need to make it fun, not a fight, because that’s what they want! Take the conflict away and you’ll get much better results!

Another tactic to use when they refuse to go to school (or do their homework) is to say “Not a problem!“ (By the way, you have to have that sentence in your vocabulary and use it all the time. Whatever they do is not a problem for you. Big problem for them, but not for you).

So you say “Not a problem!  You just stay home and miss school! Then when you have to take fifth grade again, you’ll be the tallest kid in fifth grade! That will be so cool! Can you imagine?” Then you get them started on a chore, to help teach them some skills that they’ll need when they don’t graduate from school.

If your kid is constantly saying they’re sick, you want to tell them “Not a problem. Go ahead and get in bed and I’ll take care of you. I can do that because I’m an awesome mom (or dad)!” Then, make sure that they don’t do anything fun like video games or TV for the whole day. At dinner time, check on them to see if they’re well enough to come up for dinner, then it’s back to bed for rest until bedtime. After a couple of days of this, they’ll learn that faking being sick and staying home from school is not the most fun thing to do.

One thing you do need to remember with these guys though is that school is tough. Most of the time they don’t really fit in real great and they struggle with the scholastic and social aspect of it. So if they do need a day off once in a while, make sure to let them have it!

Do you have a RAD kid in your house? I’ve recently been listening to a great set of CDs by Nancy Thomas called Healing Trust: Rebuilding The Broken Bond. It’s full of useful information, tools, and ideas for parents of Reactive Attachment Disorder kids.

We’ve also had much success with Total Transformation by James Lehman. Though it’s not written specifically for RAD kids, the techniques we’ve learned in it have worked very well for ours.

About the author: By

Matt is the parent (along with his wife Julie) to five wonderful kids. He has been self-employed for 25+ years and is the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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