Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Help For Families In Crisis - Life With RAD

  What are parents to do when they have children with RAD and they are nearing the breaking point? The other week I wrote a post entitled: Get Help Before You Break - Life With RAD. What I failed to add is where to get the help you need. I had a reader send this question: "What do you do when there is no help and you are at the breaking point?" She wasn't expecting me to reply because she knows as well as I, that there is no one size fits all answer to this problem. I have been tossing this around in my head, trying to come up with a solution because many of the mom's who contact me are in the same situation. Their child is making life unbearable, their health is failing and they are losing their remaining children's hearts. They need help and they need it now. They have gone to therapy, they are trained trauma parents, they have been to psychiatrists they have tried everything and the situation only grows worse. 

   When a mom comes to me and is in that place, it scares me because I know exactly what the family is up against. There is a lot more at stake here than losing their child, their faith is shaken, their trust in fellow humanity is gone, they are nearing the point of being suicidal because they cannot go on and there is no one to help them. When families reach this place they are in crisis and need more than one person can give, they need a whole community to rally around them. They need someone to intervene and take all their responsibilities so they can focus on healing. But that is a huge task and these families already feel as though they are a drain on their church and community. It is hard to continually be the needy family and not be able to give in return.

   As I was pondering this situation I wondered what could be done so families who have children with attachment disorders do not find themselves at this breaking point? I came to the conclusion that they need another couple to help them parent. 

   When B was home we never left him with a babysitter, the price was simply to high. When your child hates you, you are loath to give them more ammunition to use against you. I won't go in to explaining why this is, you can read here about the triangulationmanipulation and control that makes placing a child with RAD at a sitter impossible. That means mom and dad never get time together away from the children. If an older couple would be willing to learn how to care for the child and could give the parents a break that would be so helpful. We once left B with a trained RAD respite provider our therapist told us about. Even though this person was trained, she did not know B's particular methods of control and manipulation, so despite her best efforts he came away feeling triumphant because he succeeded in manipulating her. While he thrived on manipulation it scared him when he was successful because that meant he was smarter than the adults who were supposed to be keeping him safe.

   Having someone being the mediator for the family would be so helpful. These children are masters at pushing their parents beyond what they can handle. Having to explain why they parent as they do and continually having to be on guard wears these parents down. If there was someone to whom they could direct those with questions and concerns it would be such a blessing.

   Perhaps having someone who could give the parents a scheduled break as well as provide a safe buffer between them and the rest of the world would keep families from reaching the crisis point. 

  I don't know if there are any couples out there who would be willing to undertake such an enormous task but I honestly think having someone who has their back would ease the isolation and pain parents feel when caring for a child who is so emotionally damaged that he cannot accept love. Such a couple might provide enough of support that the parents could give their child what he needs without sacrificing their health, family and marriage. 

  Having someone to speak truth into their lives may be what keeps a couple from seriously questioning or even abandoning their faith. When you have a child who is trying their best to hurt you, make you crack, perhaps is even seeking to do away with you, it is really hard to remember that this child is doing this out of fear and pain. If someone who really knows what life is like from day to day would daily pour Gods word into your heart, it would be such a blessing.

  If anyone has tried this I would love to hear about it. How did you make it work? What were some of the pitfalls?


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