February 20, 2018

Parenting RAD Teens

This journey of parenting RAD teens makes me feel like I am groping along blindly in a black tunnel. The statistics are not encouraging either – over age 13 the success rate drops dramatically in healing these kiddos. Notice most camps are only up to age 12? After the hormones kick in, you start facing those challenges too!

And there just isn’t all that much information out there either. I am basically taking what I can find on RAD adolescents and combining it with what I know about parenting Oppositional Defiant Disorder children. Most of what I have learned about ODD  (and am using successfully) is from the Total Transformation program. Sounds fun, huh?

So I thought I would share a few tips that work for me (for now!).

  1. Jumping jacks/strong sitting give way more to jumping on the trampoline. That brain still gets stuck but teenage “saving face” takes over. Since our goal is to help them get unstuck and not humiliation, this route seems to be the path of least resistance.
  2. Find cue words. Let the teen pick a few cue words for tramp jumping, correcting an adult redirection, or respectful “yes mom” replies. Once again, humiliation is not my goal.
  3.  You can have more indepth conversations about choices. Especially “what would you do different next time” conversations. I really utilize ODD talk here from Total Transformation – “that is one choice, what might be another?” Or “that wouldn’t be my choice, let’s see how it works for you”.
  4. Freedom reigns supreme in their minds. So using responsibility as the key to freedom privileges seems to be more successful as well as losing them too!

I started on this route out of desperation after I noticed that the RAD techniques used for younger children (sit here on this rug and do legos, color, do puzzles kind of things) were causing behaviors that did not work towards opening their hearts. Or letting go of their fear and thus their need to be in control.  I have seen more healing in adapting the techniques to take into consideration the teen factor. I have only just begun.

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and 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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