Seems the more I read, the more questions I have. I REALLY wish our region had better mental health support and services, particularly in the form of RAD help. We have 3, THREE certified RAD therapists in our area of 350,000 + people and a strong adoption/biological children ratio. (Blame the Bible belt, high incidence of infertility and affluence)
Thanks to all that replied about the spectral diagnoses our RADishes get, even when it's not clear if it's the RADs or genuine developmental delay. Sissy is also diagnosed with bipolar so tossing Asperger's or PDD-NOS into the mix when all of it can clinically be explained by her RADs diagnosis makes me very leary of adding one more thing to her growing list.
Nancy Thomas is a strong proponent of sugar = love. She cites several examples of giving sugar as therapy to RADishes and seeing very positive results. For example, she uses the milk caramels in snuggle therapy to mimic the breastfeeding bonding RADishes didn't get. She also explains about one particular RADish she had that responded very well to ice cream therapy, saying that in three weeks time, he said he'd had enough and afterward, he no longer abused sugary treats priveleges. There is also clinical proof of crack babies needing the sweet to repair brain damage. Thomas cites RADs development impairment to be similar to crack babies. Finally, Thomas says that which we take away, our children will reach for. Her example is that with her biological son was not given guns or sugar and he is now a marine that has very specific habits about his sugar consumption as an adult. Even in my own husband I've seen this issue. His father was a severe diabetic that held the principle that if he couldn't eat it, no one in the family could either. The result is that my husband has a VERY STRONG procilvity toward sweets and he'll readily tell you that he knows he's compensating for that which he did not get as a child.
Katherine Leslie has an exact opposite approach. In her book "coming to grips with attachment" (pg 78) she says "Sugar addiction is pretty typical of traumatized children. I locked all the sugar stuff in a tackle box and attached a combination lock. Only my son adn I have the combination because we are the only ones in the family who can control ourselves. All sweets must now pass through me. This ended up helping our whole family control their sweet teeth."
I know many RADishes have a hoarding issue. Sissy likes to hide food but she never actually consumes it. She is challenging at mealtime in the sense that she'll often refuse to eat (even throw away an entire plate of uneaten food) or she'll consume too much and I'll have to rehearse portion control with her. But my "the kitchen is closed, it is not food time" rule seems to help minimize her eating dysfunctions. But perhaps Leslie's approach is more affective for severe hoarders?
I was wondering which approach you subscribe to when it comes to sugar - Thomas' or Leslie's? If you've tried both, which has been the most successful? If you have more than one RADish, have you used different techinques depending on the child's needs? Has your approach been largely based on clinical evidence or your personal ability to enforce a rule YOU can live with? (because we all know as RAD moms, if we can't live with the rule or the child's consequence for breaking the rule, it's a lost battle before we've even gone to war)
Question #2 - Has being a RAD mom made you harder/cynical or have you managed to stay true to yourself in the midst of the mayhem? I ask because my counselor and I had this discussion this past week in my session with her. I was explaining my frustration with Sissy's therapist at the RTC, my reason being that the therapist was allowing Sissy to triangulate us, that I felt the therapist was too weak and allowed herself to be vulnerable to Sissy's charms and lies and that I felt vulnerable as the parent. My counselor asked me the question, "what is the therapist like as a person?" I explained that she's very soft, wears soft, comfotable clothing in subdued colors, had soft flowing hair in a pale blonde with light curls, she had very fair skin and a quiet, slow, almost child-like voice. I ended my decription with, "she comes across as a pushover which is counterproductive to heal a RAD kid!"
But as my counselor and I wend our way through my other needs, we came back to the issue of "soft is lacking in my life" partly due to the fact that I've had to be so cut and dry with Sissy, to the detriment of who I am naturally. If Sissy wasn't a RADish, would I be a more soft, gentle mom? Would my personal attributes be more like this therapist that frustrates me? Is my frustration with the therapist exacerbated by my inner struggle to be me despite Sissy's RADs? Reading and listening to all of this RAD material, I feel myself needing to be more staunch and less soft but it feels counterproductive to eventually seeking attachment with a traumatized child. If Sissy were an infant, I wouldn't be playing chess in my head all day long, thinking six moves ahead of her. I'd just be snuggling her and loving her, cooing at her, humming, rocking, rubbing, tickling, etc. I'd be "soft".
How about you? Have you found a balance and if so, how? Or have you found yourself in my position - a hardened, cynical mom that is currently struggling with my choice to parent because I didn't know how hard it would be to help a RADish recover, to be true to myself, to love despite the enormous deficits Sissy has created in my love bucket, to know that there is a clear reality that despite my best efforts, ultimately healing is up to Sissy and she may not choose it. Can I live with that reality and not take it as a personal affront to my role as her parent? Is it easier to be hard now, preparing myself for a possible reality to soften the blow for later? Or do we have to make ourselves hard to love these RADishes so they have a better chance at healing?
Oh, it's all so hard. I'm glad for my counselor. I highly recommend you get your own therapy. RADs is hard on the moms, maybe harder than it is on the kids.
Question #3 - How involved is your spouse/significant other in the RAD therapy at home? Are you a team or is the one parent the RAD "mom" and the other the co-parent that simply supports? Thus far, my husband is not actively participating in reading/learning about RADs although he is highly supportive. How necessary is it for both of us to be completely in the know about all the therapy techniques if The Dad simply supports The Mom in her therapy approaches for the RADish? In other words, The Mom institutes all the necessary therapy and The Dad supports The Mom and helps with the non-RAD siblings?
OK, finishing this rather heavy post with a funny. I heard this song on the radio and I imagined a bunch of RAD moms confidently walking side-by-side in slow motion down a busy street crowded with screaming RADishes in active defiance, the wind whipping the moms' hair but they had smiles on their faces and expressions of being all-knowing and all-powerful (perhaps this is a RADish's nightmare? lol) The lyrics of the song are very fitting for parenting our RADishes!
I give you, "running with the devil" by Van Halen