Monday, March 28, 2016

The Lonely Path Of Parenting A Child With RAD

  1. 1a :  being without company :  loneb :  cut off from others :  solitary
  2. 2:  not frequented by human beings :  desolate
  3. 3:  sad from being alone :  lonesome
  4. 4:  producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation
lone·li·ness play\ˈlōn-lē-nəs\ noun

Children with RAD not only isolate themselves, they isolate their parents as well. I no longer have a child with that diagnosis, something I still find hard to fathom. The other evening I told Dean that it still feels like a dream when I think of everything that we went through with B. I remember so many details, all the pain and low times but there is a haze over the memory making it difficult to grasp that those memories are actually part of my life.

Anyway, time and again, I have had moms with children diagnosed with RAD, tell me how lonely they are. These moms immerse themselves in all things RAD, trying to understand what makes their child tick. Unfortunately, they find that they need to parent their emotionally healthy child(ren) completely opposite from how they parent their child with RAD. This is confusing and it takes awhile to figure out exactly how that will look like for your family.  The need to parent children within one family differently, is tough. It is especially hard if the children are close in age and too young to understand why they get consequences while the RAD child "gets" to stay near mom.

  The next strike toward loneliness comes when you try to explain why you parent each child differently. Chances are you are already marked as "The Odd Mom," if your child has RAD. Begin parenting your children differently and relationships are bound to get complicated. It becomes easier and easier to simply stay at home.

And then you (RAD Mom) take your child to therapists and doctors, each who have their own opinion of what is wrong with your child and how you should be parenting him. Since you want what is best for your child you do more research only to see you were making some mistakes. Now you need to figure out how to change the way you were parenting, without having your child with RAD feel he got the upper hand, which would be giving him the illusion that he controls you. All this thinking and talking makes your brain tired. You discuss the pro's and con's with your husband until the clock strike's midnight for the third time in less than a week. I remember telling Dean we should have been defense attorney's, since we were becoming adept at finding any loophole that B would find and figuring out how to reword and rework our plan to make it foolproof, all the while knowing he would find a way around what we said. That kind of mental workout is debilitating and parenting a child with RAD, requires constant thinking of this sort, leaving room for little else. Just staying alive, requires all your brain power. Deep inside you long for a friend but knowing you have nothing to give in return, makes you hesitant to reach out. So you remain lonely because you feel guilty asking someone to befriend you when you are so needy.

When you meet with other special needs mom's, you feel like crawling into a hole and crying because the women are talking about the services their child receives and the progress they are making, while your child who appears perfectly healthy, is regressing. You find yourself thinking "If only braces or surgery could "fix" my child." When mom's talk of bad days, you find yourself thinking, "I would be so grateful if I could just have a good moment." You wipe invisible tears and wonder why you thought it was a good idea to leave your house.

Your mommy group shares the cute things their toddlers are doing and you want to do the same, but your mind comes up blank. You can't think of anything to share, at least nothing they can relate to and the loneliness threatens to overwhelm you yet again. 

Your friends discuss houses and styles, their hopes and dreams and you want to be happy for them, but you feel as if you have nothing to add to the conversation, because you are thankful for every day that goes by without another hole being punched through the drywall... and the lonely feeling creeps over you.

  *this post is not intended to point fingers, instead I want to share how lonely it is when your child has RAD. My heart goes out to those who are "In The Trenches" and honestly do not know how they will face another day, hour or even minute. I was there and I know the pain. Thanks to those who invested in our lives when they knew they would receive nothing in return.

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