January 23, 2018

RAD Teens

One thing my husband and I have been learning on this road of therapeutic parenting is the younger you catch them the better the chance of success for them. We are glad that we have the information now but I, at least, find myself sometimes regretting that I didn’t know sooner. Some of the areas that make it harder for teens to open their hearts are:

  1. There have been a lot of years of keeping it closed. Learned behavior both on their part and ours has partially hardwired their brain. Now remember the brain is an amazing thing and certainly correct itself with the right neurotherapy, it just still will have those pathways that are permanent.
  2. We are also battling “teenager” behavior. One in and of itself, RAD or teenage behavior, can send the most level headed, loving parent off the cliff. But put the two together and it can be a powder keg. We definitely have to be on our “A” game to know which area we are dealing in. We do struggle some as our oldest was an easy, fun to be around teen. So we also were learning what teen behavior looked like too. One tool that has helped us with identifying teen behaviors is the Total Transformation program.
  3. The choice. This comes into play as while they are really little kids inside, the outside world and some pathology tells them they can do it themselves. The problem is that they aren’t yet capable to make these independent choices but we can’t tell them that because they are a TEEN, who knows everything!

Is it hopeless? No of course not! It just might not happen until much later down the road, when their brain is fully developed and they start understanding that the hard life lessons they are experiencing are coming out of THEIR choices.

What else can you do?

The best book we’ve found for parenting our RAD kids is When Love Is Not Enough by Nancy Thomas. For parents of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder this is a must have.

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

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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  1. Kristine S. says:

    I came across this link on another desperate day. Today was supposed to be a wonderful day…My 13 year old daughters 1st dance competition. 10 minutes before it was time to go I went into her room and she was asleep in the mist of her pigpen. She had spent the better part of the night looking for one of her dance Paws that she had taken off and could not find. For the last several years it has turned into what I think is hoarding but in looking online I am not sure I am right. She has everything she owns shoved in drawers, under beds and in closets but it is mixed it unsanitary feminine items, soiled underwear and food that is wet, moldy, rotten and partially eaten. Bowls, bags and lots of spoons mixed with homework that was beautifully done and then wadded up and never turned in. I have went in and cleaned, removed carpet, repainted and cried several times since she was 5 but it always gets worse. She is so completely in denial and gets VERY upset if I come in to try to find something. Most days she smells strongly of urine because she has a bladder issue but she gets sooo angry with me when I try to remind her to use pads or change her cloths. She adamanty denies she smells anything other than normal. She used to have ecopresis (sp) as a small child but that is gone for several years BUT the dirty underwear hidden EVERYWHERE in her room along with clean things still remain. ANY SUGGESTIONS? I am the one that she lashes out at and she can be very ugly but I know that this is because I am the only one she trusts at the same time..HELP??

  2. Kristine S. says:

    She was DX’s with RAD at the age of 5

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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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