Saturday, April 28, 2012

RAD and Horse Therapy: A link to YouTube News Story

Hi Friends,
Just stumbled upon this older news story about a RAD child in Utah.. You can see some of the information is already kind of out of date, but the story is interesting in any case, and I just thought you'd find it interesting. In any case, the use of animals in therapeutic ways is always widely agreed upon with supervision, as we all discussed before. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Respite from My RAD Foster Child: The Follow Up- Lessons Learned by All

By John and Diane
 Well it has been 2 weeks now since me and my RAD foster son’s had our respite and he came back with a new outlook, thank God!  I just wanted to catch you all up on how it went.
I went to the other foster home to pick up my boy, and was greeted with his bags in the living room. I greeted everyone merrily, feeling rested and happy. 

Before we could leave I had to take a moment to do a thorough search of his luggage to make sure he didn’t take anything from the nice foster home he came from.    I do a search of his backpack and pockets every time he leaves a sleepover or stay at Grandma’s or other family members home. This is not new to him. He has stayed with my brother and other family members before and time after time he came home with things that did not belong to him which made it hard for me to ask again. “Could you please watch him again? I know he took your cell phone.  Sorry! But I could use a break.”  So I find it much easier to do this right up front and get it over with.  When I didn’t find anything I thanked him for being good and not taking anything.
So that went well and I felt like this was a good sign. Next we were going to move all his things to the car but now he was going to test me by saying very loud in front of the other foster parent, “who’s going to carry my things to the car!”
 I was kneeling on the floor at the time repacking his things for him. I stood up and said in my strongest voice “You are. OK?” and he did. No more questions.  Nice.
So, home we went. He took his things down to his room and put them away, and then I called a family meeting. It seemed like a good time to re-establish the routine .
I had a copy of the house rules and chores and as they took their chairs I told them “we are going over all the house rules and ever thing just as if you this was the first day you came here so everyone will know what to expect from me and what I will expect from you.”
They took turns reading the chore list and the house rules then I answered any questions they had.  I pointed out the rules that they were breaking and why it was important not to break them and that I was not going to put up with it any more.
 Now you have to remember, I am a foster parent. I did not adopt the children living in my home and they are aware of other kids who had to leave because they were not able to follow the rules of the house.
Now as we were going over all that and why the rules needed to be followed my respite child’s head kept falling lower and lower. I think he was putting two and two together and he knew he was not the only one who needs the respite.
So, he said to me, “Dad,” he always calls me Dad when he wants some thing or he’s happy,
“I’m sorry for how I was treating you. I don’t want you to have to get mad at me or blow your whistle at me any more.”
 So I said “You are going to follow the rules of the house?”
“Yes I want to stay here!”
“Ok” I said to him, “I had a lot of time to think about everything to and whether or not you were going to stay and you are asking for me to let you try again?”
 (Now for all of you who don’t know this, this is at least his 200th time he’s ask too start over.   The difference is this time his behavior is good enough to go somewhere else- other than a hospital. )
 I added, “We keep on learning here, can you do that?”
“Yes” he said.
“Ok that is all I ask from you is you try, and that is all God asks of us. He gives us chances over and over and I can try to do the same.”
Now he was still looking down so I added  “I’m not mad at you and I never was, I was just tired.”
Again he said he was sorry and the day starts new.
Since this child has an attachment disorder and I have had him about three years, I wasn’t sure if I had made any progress with him. I wasn’t really sure if I was just controlling and changing him with behavioral modification or if he was changing because he was attached and was changing to try to please me.
I heard from the other foster family how he would talk about our family while he was gone.
 He would talk about all the fun things we did as a family and with just me (now I call these things “anchors” because they hold the child home and gives them a reason for staying with you or putting up with you and your rules.)
Now I feel like he has a reason to change and that was what I was looking for. Amen Thank you God he has attached to us.  I haven’t even had to blow my whistle at him yet. 
So, the moral to this story… respite for your RAD child is really a learning tool for everyone, especially if you’ve been working with your RAD kid for a while. It’s not only an important break to take from a difficult child, but it is also an important opportunity to test the attachment and re-establish the importance of his family and home. 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Than One “Good Book” Can Help a Foster Parent: Recommended Reading

~ by John and Diane
Although much of what I learned about Fostering kids has come from God and experience, the books I read during my training was an essential part of my foundation.  I am not sure if all Foster parent training is the same, or if adoptive parents are aware of resources like this, but I wanted to share with all of you some of the books I read during my training. Most of these deal with working with children with histories of sexual abuse or other trauma.

I also included some information about the disciplinary systems I reference, Love and Logic and 123 Magic.  All these resources can be found on and I will include them in our Amazon Books Links shortly, or just copy and paste them into your browser to find them online. 

Do you have books you would recommend other parents to read?  Please share your recommended readings in the comments section!

 The Fourteenth Year - by Kelly Watt

Peter's Lullaby - by Jeanne Fowler

What Parents Need to Know - Help for Grieving and Traumatized Children
by William Steele

Disciplinary Systems:

The Love and Logic series by Foster Cline and Jim Fay:

Image:  License
AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by jon.hayes

Monday, April 23, 2012

Respite from your RAD Child: Achieve the Impossible Dream!

by John and Diane

Taking a respite, well deserved, as we all know it would be, is next too impossible when you have a RAD foster or adopted child. Not only is it hard to find some angel on earth to take your RAD child, someone who will put up with all the stuff your RAD kid will do, but getting your trust disorder-ed kid to accept a respite without them losing it or freaking out and making the time before they leave a living hell for you … well, it all seems next to impossible. 

This is how I did it. (With God’s help, of course…)

My foster son who has been diagnosed with attachment disorder (or RAD) amongst other things is a teenager, but learning disabled so, much younger mentally and maturity-wise.  Two weeks before my planned respite, (oh, and believe me… I had been planning it for a loooooong time…) whenever he’d  break the house rules I would say to him…” see, this is why I need a respite.” They have been “in the system” long enough that all my foster kids understand the word “respite” means “break,” or “vacation away.”  

I know how much my kids love to use my words against me, so it didn’t take long before I heard those words come from his lips.  “Dad my brother has made me so mad that I pushed him!  He is getting too me so much I Need a Respite!”

Now, with a slight smile on my face I ask, “So you need respite hey? Why?”
He went on to explain what happened with his brother and why he needed to take a break from him—a respite.  I told him I understood, but he would still lose his dollar for breaking the house rules, and that I would see about a respite for him. (hee hee.)

 I was able to do this type of thing with him a number of times.

 Respite for me was 2 weeks away when his counselor asked me when I was going to tell him.   “Not yet” I said, “it will be his idea if it works out the way I want it to.”

She said she would be happy to work with him on it and to go to the home with him and get him ready.

I said, “No thanks he knows the people where he will be going already and I will do it the weekend before he goes if I have to, that way I only have to deal with him for 2 days if he decides to throw a fit.” 

 I was hoping that he would ask for respite one more time before that day would come and then it happened, like a gift from God! 

The kids got in to a fight and I went down to intervene.  First I found out how it started and then I would deal with the outcome and all the house rules that they broke that started the fight the first place.

By the time I was done hearing all about what he did and why he did it, the magic words passed through his lips…  

“ I Need Respite from this family!”

I tried not to smile.

Now that was more then I could have ask for from God so I thanked him under my breath and asked, “What did you say?”

He repeated it.  “I need respite from you Dad and every one in this family!”

I asked, “Why? Because I want you to follow the house rules like everyone else?

He replied, “Yes those are your rules! I don’t need to listen to you and your dumb rules!”

“O.K.,” I said, “Maybe you’re right, and you do need respite.  You said that a number of times to me before and you know I always listen to you and try to help you. (I couldn’t help myself; I had to add that on! Ha) so I called the last time you said you needed it and I think I have some one who may take you.”

I told him their names (another Foster family) I added, “ I didn’t know that is what you wanted though…”

He said stubbornly, “Good! I can’t wait!”  He was so happy he got his way he told everyone how he was getting respite away from us because life with us was too hard on him.

Overall, the experience had its ups and downs, and I will write more about that later. It was a good opportunity to test out his attachment to me and his brother, who is also in my home.

I learned a lot from the experience, both in how to get the respite I needed (by making it HIS idea) and on how to test out the attachment of a RAD kid.   Most of all I just wanted to share with you all that getting a break, a respite, from your RAD kid IS possible… in spite of the odds against you… so DO IT!  J (just make it your kid’s idea!)

image:  License
AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Corinna A. Carlson

Friday, April 20, 2012

Setting the Foundations: Chore Lists, Rewards and Discipline Sheets

by John and Diane

As I mentioned before, having House Rules posted benefits everyone in the home, foster kids, parents, visiting kids and other caregivers. Having very clear rules and consequences helps makes kids feel secure and makes supporting and enforcing the rules a family obligation. Favoritism is also avoided because the rules are clearly defined for everyone to see. 

Along with the House Rules I have posted the Chores List, Allowance and Privileges and Disciplinary sheets.  These forms are all mounted on the wall of my group Foster home (under Plexiglas of course, which is screwed to the wall) so that everyone knows exactly what to expect when they follow or break the rules. These sheets are updated as necessary, but I thought I would provide them here (and on our Facebook page for you to download and use if you'd like) as a guideline for you, or to inspire you to create your own.  A place to start, you might say.

Again, please go to our Facebook Page to see the sheets larger or to download.

As always, please share your ideas, additions and comments!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Great Conversations: Letter Writing and Art Therapy with the Introverted RAD Child

by John and Diane

The following is part of a conversation that took place on our Facebook page that we all agreed to share on the blog, and repost on Facebook so the conversation could continue (as it started as a response to a link to another article and then we all kind of got off topic!) As the purpose of this blog and Facebook page is to help each other we wanted to make sure our Blog pals got an opportunity to listen in on the conversation and join in if they like…. This is by no means a way to end the conversation, but a way to make it easier to continue it… I have taken the names off (except for our responses) to maintain confidentiality on  the blog…

FPR= Foster Parent Rescue author
Other initials are members/friends

                                    CJ: (describing her RAD daughter’s history)

She has been with us for almost 3 years. While we have had problems all along, they have changed as her circumstances have changed. When she came to us she was still having mandatory visits with her birth parents twice weekly. During that time our focus was on resolving her terrible nightmares, bed wetting, night terrors, eating disorder, etc. She had a history of never having been told no about anything---absolutely no limits, so her behavior was just wild.On the eating issue, she was unable at 4 years old to identify any fruit or vegetable, other than strawberries. She was unable to chew meat even in tiny bites because she had never eaten it before. She would eat--literally--only frozen waffles with syrup, sugar coated cereal, candy, cookies and the like. When provided with "real" food, she would gag and be unable to swallow it. She would starve herself rather than eat unless she was given what she wanted, which was sweets. Once parental rights were term'd and we didn't have to do visits, the bed wetting and some of her negative behaviors began to improve. We had to hire a "monster catcher" to come to our home and trap the monsters that caused her nightmares. Slowly we saw improvement in all areas except eating. Now I do want to say she TRIED to improve her eating. She really did make the effort. It seems to be more that she just can't chew the food and swallow it. All medical testing is negative for any physiological problem, so it's believed to be sensory and her therapist suggests it's likely a result of oral abuse at some point. Things were actually pretty smooth for about 6 months following finalization. The eating problem and some minor behavioral problems were really the only issue and we really thought we had gotten thru everything and all was good. She continued to see her family therapist and the feeling was that she was adjusting. Here's where we adults made a huge error. She asked us to please let her stop therapy. We discussed it with our former social worker and with her school teacher, as well as with the therapist. We came to the conclusion that she was just sick and tired of talking about it all the time and was not going to move forward until we allowed her to let it all go. So we stopped therapy. The therapist did warn us that she would need to return to therapy at some point, but that taking a break was probably ok since she was doing so wonderfully. All was pretty well til a few months ago. I mean, we had some issues with behavior and limits and the eating problem was there as always, she would have the occasional outburst, etc. Everyone assured us that what we were seeing was normal and not to freak out about it, so we didn't. She asked us right around Christmas time if she could call her birth dad. That was a very unusual request for her, so we called her former therapist. Went in for a session to see if she could figure it out. After talking with her, she determined that there was probably no ulterior motive and she was just needing closure. This is good, right? So we let her call. Well, it didn't go well at all. Although we had called in advance and set up ground rules, he did not stick to them and we ended up terminating the call, which on the advise of the therapist was on speaker phone and monitored by us. He made a reference to her returning to live with him and told her that he was workin hard so he could hire an attorney and get her back. Although we term;d the call, it was already said at that point. She got very upset and for days asked us continually if that was true that he could make her come back and live with him. We assured her that no, she was our daughter and we will be her parents forever, she will never go live with her birth parents and we will never allow them to come to her home or be around her. She seemed satisfied with that, but we began seeing massive increases in behavior and emotional issues. This is why we put her back into therapy. The new psychiatrist says she should have been given a RAD diagnosis three years ago because all of her records indicate the need for that. We didn't know what RAD was til he said that, never heard of it, really. Her former therapist has mentioned something about attachment problems, but wasn't specific and she said she hesitated to label her with that, so let's wait and see. So here we are now. I hope I am making sense!
CC:  Keep in mind also that all you can your best. We have our child for 8 years and she just can't seem to get past her issues. your best and don't be too hard on yourself
My mouth dropped open when I read that they let her talk to her father and all I could say was "What?" I cant believe her counseler let her talk to her father when she is a child with a trust disorder. That counselor destroyed years of work. We did similiar things like that with letters.. never verbally, so I had full control over what was being said and read. Unbelievable. I am glad you have a new counselor. No wonder you are starting over. That is what you are dealing with now. Now she has false hope, no matter how abusive he might have been to her, she might somehow still want to be with him, somewhere in the back of her mind. So, now you have to start all over! I feel so bad for you. But you can begin again. I am doing the same thing but with a grandma, with letters, with native american children who will eventually have to go back to thier tribe.... Just goes to show you that counselors don't always know what is the best ... follow your own instincts sometimes. In any case... you can do it... you just have to start all over... begin to rebuild the trust. Thank God for the Angels that are coming to your aide..... Hang in there Christy! We are hear to help!!

CJ: I can't wholly blame the therapist because my husband and I agreed to let her call, too. Lesson learned, but at our little one's expense. Lotsa guilt for mom and dad on that one, I assure you. She still asks to call one or the other of her birth parents now and then, but now we always sit down and ask her to think about why she feels like she wants to call them. Usually it turns out that she really just wants to call someone, not necessarily them. She's very, very bright and extremely articulate and able to express what she's feeling. I feel like she knows what's going on in her head and I know she wants to feel better, I just don't know how to help her work thru it. I know everyone else feels the same way with their kids. Your mention of letter writing gave me an idea. I wonder if we asked her if she'd like to write her birth mom/dad a letter and tell them why she is angry, how the hurt her, etc. if that would help her get it out there and on the path to moving beyond it a little? Has anyone tried that or had any success with anything similar?
Hi CJ, Diane here, (co blog author and art therapist) How old is your daughter? I am not sure about the letter writing thing, maybe if she asks to call, tell her to write down what she'd like to say in a letter and then burn it or tie it to a balloon (I wrote a couple of books on art therapy and that is something we did to rid ourselves of 'baggage') but also, if she is old enough, maybe start her on an art-journal.. draw out her emotions in a sketch book.. sometimes can help kids who cant verballize their feelings or identify their feelings easily. Have you heard of a Mandala? its basically drawing things in a circle. The Mandala is a symbol for motherhood (okay, now it gets but anyway, a good activity for a control -kid. Draw a circle and have her draw anything inside it. Scribble in it, then fill in areas.. a good starter activity... something to do to help her express herself when she can't otherwise.. just an idea....

PG: Bless your heart.......I probally have said this but I talk about our daughter the most because her rad is the most severe.....she used to write me notes all the time and at school in her journal write how much she loved me but I knew it was all fake.......but then there was the day that she told me she loved me and there was somthing about it and I knew it was real......does she love me enough I don't think she does but she does love me enough that she would be sad if she lost one morning she got up and said last night I dreamed that you died and when I woke up I had tears running down my face and I thought yes....she loves me .....then after I dropped her off at school I got to thinking how did I die and I thought did she kill me???? oh know...well thankfully I just fell over I am telling you these kids can heal....our 17 yr old has....yes we still have issues but it's more like teen issues but more extreme....but I know he's he's threatening to do college by homeschool lol.....I am posting this because I lose my post
There are things that I wonder if our kids will ever get over......but we do believe in the power and that has gotten us to where we are today.....hang in there it does get better.......
 oh about the drawing when Sarah used to draw pictures of our family she was huge and we were little and they say that's because she felt powerful now she draws us bigger....
JZ: Christy, our kids must be identical twins, you have described my 8 year old RAD precisely. John, I'd love any info you could give me on the introverted tantrums as that is mostly how she copes with stress.
CJ: She turned 7 in February. I should have been more clear about the letters! I was thinking as you suggested...write, but don't send. Just allowing her some avenue to get it all out, say what she wants without any fear of judgment. Perhaps suggest that she is the only one who needs to even see them. I don't know...,I'm grasping at straws, I guess. Even tho she is in counseling I feel like she isn't honest even there. You can see it in her eyes and her expressions. LOL I like the art journal idea. I think she would be very willing to do that and would actually enjoy it. I know her former therapist used art therapy with her sometimes. Her pictures were usually of her being chased by some kind of monster and my husband being her rescuer or protector in some way. She rarely included me in those types of pictures. If I was included, it was when she drew family pictures and she always made me cooking or cleaning and even if I was stirring a pot of food, I always had flowers in one hand. I just sent my hubby into town to pick up a sketch pad for her and a new box of crayons. Fingers crossed!!!!
So, your husbands shopping list was a whistle, crayons and a sketch book. LOL. funny. Interesting about the art: Her drawing you in steriotyped ways is okay, it means she is idealizing the woman role, the mother role, and that is okay for her right now as a child, she is or was looking for the steriotype Mommy, and was drawing you in that role, and Dad too, as the protector... all okay considering. If she is still drawing pics of her being scared or running away from something, and dad is protecting her, have dad draw with her, and ask him to draw a sword in her hand (or whatever it is that he is using to protect her, a sword, a cloaking device, a superpower, whatever) to help her feel more empowered and continue that with each drawing, having Dad share his ability to protect her with her and then eventually encourage her to draw her own ability to conquer the monster in her drawings.
you might also want to draw pics with her (next to her, not in her personal sketchbook, because you dont want to invade her drawing, and take over her "control") Ask her to draw a pic of you on Your sketch pad, then ask if you can add something to it. Add a sword or whatever, again, whatever her monster fighter would need, a shield, or a magic ring or something that would imply that Mom is Super Mom.... start letting her see the woman as a more powerful and trustworthy role model.
PG:  The more they start bonding the worse they get which could explain part of the getting worse as they get I think the teen attitudes are a lot more dramatic......

CJ: Ok, I am armed with a whistle and even hid a spare! At great risk of sounding completely batty, I feel more in control just knowing I have a whistle. Tomorrow we're going to discuss the whistle and why we have it. Didn't want to bombard her with too much tonight as we also gave her the sketch pad and crayons. She LOVES the idea, Diane! She did two pictures tonight, one of grass, trees, flowers, butterflies.The other one is of fish swimming in the ocean. Pretty normal stuff, I think. Should I suggest that she draw pictures about how she feels, or just let her draw whatever comes to mind on her own? If nothing else, the drawing really helped keep her focused and calm. Thank you so much for your input, Diane! Patti; I have wondered if part of this might be that she feels herself getting close, so she intentionally throws a wrench in it. The more I read, the more confused I get so I have stopped reading for now.
Foster Parent Rescue : I felt the same way about the whistle. I really feel so much better just knowing I have it. It has really reduced my own stress and burn out, and my RAD kid (the one who gets whistled the most) just has to see it now and he pretty much quits his bad behavior. LOVE IT.
      • Diane Steinbach
I would tell her she can draw whatever she likes, maybe some time draw with her (on your own paper mind you... ) and tell her you are going to draw how you feel today... and approach it like that... she may just mirror you, but that way she will understand the idea of it, and then after a while see if she sticks with drawing on her own, she may do it naturally when she is mad in her room (John just posted an article on the introverted tantrum by the way). I think its good that she is drawing the typical stuff, although again, it could just be what she sees as typical from other kids, but it gets her used to using the materials,..after a while see if she can do abstract stuff, (do the mandala thing) I will try to post some instructions on the blog soon on that type of stuff. For now, just let her do what comes naturally, but take the opportunity to follow her lead and draw with her when you can or if she invites you to. Good bonding opportunity.

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Great Conversations: On RAD Kids and Introverted Tantrums: Trying the Whistle Technique

by John and Diane

The following is part of a conversation that took place on our Facebook page that we all agreed to share on the blog, and repost on Facebook so the conversation could continue (as it started as a response to a link to another article and then we all kind of got off topic!) As the purpose of this blog and Facebook page is to help each other we wanted to make sure our Blog pals got an opportunity to listen in on the conversation and join in if they like…. This is by no means a way to end the conversation, but a way to make it easier to continue it… I have taken the names off (except for our responses) to maintain confidentiality on  the blog…

FPR= Foster Parent Rescue author
Other initials are members/friends

FPR: I was wondering, does your daughter tantrum in an introverted way (like, go to her room and destroy stuff) or in an extroverted way (like, yell at you and call you names etc.) There are different ways of dealing with her depending on which type she is. I am working on a longer article on working with RAD kids right now, but I am wondering if I cant help you, if you have any urgent questions or issues ... maybe I can help or we can all brainstorm for you here.... please let us know....

CJ: Most often introverted. She destroys mostly her own property, but has been known to retaliate by picking a treasured item of mine and destroying it. I have learned not to tell her when something is really special to me for that reason. She has never bothered anything belonging to my husband, though. She does tend to be mean to pets and we understand from communication with her former foster mom that this was a problem at her home, too. She will occasionally throw a wing-dinger of a tantrum, but she tends more to hold her emotions in. I can see when she's about to have a problem because she will start gritting her teeth and grimacing. She also clenches her fists right before she loses her cool. I'm just learning to watch for these signs and really pay attention so I can try to help her cope with whatever the issue is. She is very often a sweet little girl and each time she has an outburst is still shocks me like it did the first time. Do you ever get used to it????? She rarely has any serious problems at school or when she's visiting someone's home, either. In fact, people in our own extended family often think we're exaggerating when we describe some of her behaviors. One of the biggest challenges for me is that no punishment or repercussion we give has any effect whatsoever. We've tried numerous reward systems, grounding, removal of possessions, time out, name it, we've done it. Nothing works at all. She just continues to repeat the same behaviors over and over. She will also look you straight in the eye and just bold-faced lie about anything. Then she gets offended when you don't buy into it. She steals and honestly just doesn't seem to "get" that she can't do that. She steals from friends, from school, from me, etc. We just began seeing a new psychiatrist and I am so hopeful it's going to help! He has a lot of experience with RAD kids. She is also just starting Occupational Therapy and is still undergoing evaluation for that. The reason we initiated a request for OT was for an eating disorder which our pediatrician felt is likely sensory and may well be related to very early, oral abuse. (She denies any memory of this, tho.) Any suggestions, advice or help is GREATLY appreciated. I am definitely not a quitter and am determined to get her thru this and on her way to being a healthy, happy little girl!
CC: Oh just recited my life to a "T". Only this year my child has beagun acting out at school by bullying other children. Most of the time she seems to not realize cause and effect of things or that there are consequences. Or just doesn't care. My family and in laws think that we are overly strict with her and that we exagerrate her behavior. I have 3 soon to be 4 other small children that she gets very rough with instead of pets. We have started the level or step program with her and it is difficult to tell if it works because as you know...nothing seems to. If she breaks a rule of some sort or cannot behave at school she moves down a level until she is at level one..which is no privilages. She of course can earn them back but it is all up to her. This is a great link as well... Good luck. Know that you a never alone...we are all fighting the battle right along with you.

CJ:  How old is your daughter? Mine just turned 7. Since I am really just beginning to learn much about RAD and ODD, I'm wondering if problems seems to increase as the child gets older or is that just dependent on each child?

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So, CJ, Congrats, you definitley have a RAD child! Introverted children like yours are trying to control the situation. When you see her clenching her teeth and making fists etc, you are seeing her reacting to her "triggers." you should write her triggers down. These are important to let the Psychiatrist know so that he or she can purposefully trigger her to help her work through them. Re: your daughter behaving well in other situations and other peoples home.. that is typical too. It just goes to show you that she actually sees you as a caregiver and cares about you in some way.. See how special you are? She only destroys YOUR stuff! lol. I have a fortress of my own stuff as well. The reason she messes up your stuff is to make you mad, that means that she is in control of you, which makes her feel comfortable. To give you some advice: never let her control you. Always act like what she does does not upset you. So, as far as when you need to punish her, simply isolate your attention from her. If you can do Love and Logic first or 123 Magic good (check out the Tantrums and Trust Disorders: Doorways to a Better Relationship blog article) otherwise, ignore her and isolate her from your attention, until she asks you what is wrong, and then calmly explain to her what she did was wrong etc. ( This is when having the house rules also help)

Foster Parent Rescue : Oh, and all RAD kids lie. That's why I have cameras in my house. They lie because they want to be in control. They hate it when i show them themselves on my cameras and confront them with the truth of their behaviors. Those cameras have really helped me out in my house with multiple RAD kids!
Tuesday at 5:54pm · Like ·
Foster Parent Rescue : PS. Just because you have to hold in your emotional response from your RAD child, doesnt mean you dont have to vent it somehow or in someway ... be sure to talk to friends, spouse, or pray.. that is what gets me through it!
 CC ;She is turning 10 in a few weeks. She seems to have gotten a little worse as she ages. The case worker said that about age 10 or closer to puberty usually sets things in motion... and yes all RAD kids lie. Amen to that.

Foster Parent Rescue : Hope some of this helps you too CC:, I was going to address yours separetely, but now my kids are having issues... lol... gotta run!
CC: You know what...any input helps. I appreciate the open communication line here. If we didn't have a place where we could go and vent without judgement, I am not sure what would happen. It helps to know that other parents are going through the same thing and that I am not alone nor am I the worst parent on the block. : )

      • PG:our kids do both.....but have come a long ways....we have moments instead of all the time.... can't wait to read your article
CJ: All great advice! Thank you! I do try very hard to not lose my own cool in front of her, no matter how upset I am. I think she can sense it, tho even when I don't react. She gets this little smirk on her face, like she knows she got to me. It just amazes me that a child so young is so savvy! When she is having a good day she is very able to express how she's feeling. She openly discusses her anger at her birth parents, as well as at the grandmother who had her for 8 months and then had her taken away from her. All I know to say to her is that it's ok to be mad, she has every right to be and let her know that I would be mad, too. Then I try to help her find a better way to show us how angry she feels. She just doesn't seem to be able to use those tools even tho we've gone thru that each and every time she's had a bad day. Today she called me from school to tell me she misses me and loves me. When she got home, she wrote me a very special and very sweet letter and drew hearts all over it. It's when she does those things that I feel all lit from within and have such high hopes that we're conquering this together and she's going to be ok. Then I read more and everything says that these kids aren't capable of really feeling those emotions and what we see is all her mirroring whats he see's others do, but doesn't really feel herself. Is that really true or do others see real love and genuine affection from their RAD kids? I'm confused and don't really know what to think about it now! I kind of just feel thankful, period that she's showing those emotions, even if all it is really is mirroring. If she's mirroring, she's learning, right? So another question, if you all don't effective is praise for these kids? I try to praise every, single positive thing she does and so does my husband. Does that have an impact for them at all? I have very quickly learned that absolutely NOTHING that I learned while raising my older children works with this one. I apologize for my lengthy posts and my endless questions. I'm just so grateful to have all of you to learn from that I tend to jump in with both feet! LOL
CJ:, Just remember you are like a big lake to her and she love throwing rocks in it to see how big of a splash she can make. So do what I do, never let you be the one who is telling her what she did wrong. I use the house rules for that ( which I am updating on the blog today, by the way) and I always say to them “I’m so sorry that I have to do this I don’t like having to make sure ever one is treated the same, but as your [mother] I have to honey. I love you but you know what the consequences are, so can you just do them I will leave you now and let you figure out what you want to do Love you!” then walk away and go to your room and yell or hit some thing. what ever you have to do before you get down there. Now if she is following the rules good for you, if not I don’t know. If you laid the foundation stones your daughter has probably accepted the consequences. So, if she isn’t accepting the consequences and is argueing with you, you might want to try the Blowing the Whistle technique. (This is a GREAT technique which will stop her from being able to trip your triggers!)

Good luck and I would always ask God for help before I deal with my kids and he has sent me Angels to help me out went I get do any more.

Re: Mirroring, Yes, she is, I call it Parroting. Remember, she is a control freak. I have found it has taken a minimum of up to three years for these kids to actually start becoming attached. You are doing a great job though listening to her stories, and you need to start taking these stories away from her… like I talk about in the blog posting about Tantruming… so, when she starts the story, you cut her off and you finish it for her. Eventually, when she knows you know all the stories, she won’t feel the need to tell them anymore.

Re: Praising. It Does work. But its like dirt on roots of a plant. It is holding the plant solid on the ground. Don’t ever stop praising her, because you are creating a foundation and you will see the outcome eventually.

How long have you had this child? You may be asking too much of yourself for right now!

    • CJ:   I read about the whistle technique yesterday and discussed it with my hubby last night. We're going to get a whistle today and give it a try!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

House Rules: Updated Version Important Especially For Homes with Kid with Sexual Issues

 by John and Diane

I previously discussed the importance of house rules in my blog posting titled: Importance of House Rules/Chore Lists for kids with Trust Disorders and RAD posted on March 28th 2012.  The last thing on the rules list was that it could be updated and changed at anytime, and indeed, it has! As my foster group home has had kids with multiple issues and diagnosis, their behavior dictates constant updating and tweaking of the house rules.  Remember, the house rules are VITAL in allowing your kids to feel safe and secure in the home. Knowing what behavior is acceptable and expected is comforting to RAD kids, and really, any child.

Like many children who come through a foster care system, I have had many, many children who have been sexually abused in some way, or have, themselves, been the abuser. (We all know, even in the youngest children, without even knowing it, if they have been abused, they may act out in predatory ways.) Hence, some updated rules on my house rules list that I recommend be incorporated on every one's list as a general rule.  The new rules are 13- 15 on the sheet:
13. No sitting next to each other on the couch or being under a blanket together, you must always be able to be seen.
14. No grabbing or holding any other children when playing a game or any other time or reason.
       15. No taking revenge on other kids for any reason.  

As I explained to my own kids, grabbing or horseplay can lead to more aggressive and inappropriate touching that neither child may really even want to do. They may feel pressured to continue with it however, because they want to please the other child-- their foster sibling and playmate-- who may also not really want to continue but does so because this is what they know.  The house rules give the children an easy Out. They can discontinue the risky behavior and avoid the situation by using the house rules to stop the action without the risk of injuring the relationship with the other child. The house rules can be the safety net the child needs to get out of the uncomfortable situation that may have developed inadvertently. 

Please check out our Facebook Page where we will post the actual House Rule sheets that we hang on the wall, so you can download and hang them in your own home.

Here's the full list again:  

1.    Do not steal
2.    Do not lie
3.    Do not swear
4.    Do not fight
5.    Do not back talk to adults
6.    Do not enter other people’s bedrooms without permission from John.
7.    Always knock on the bathroom door before entering, wash hand after using, flush toilet, and put toilet seat down.
8.    Always pick up your toys or anything you were using and put them back.
9.    Always ask before taking food. Pop/ juices/milk can only be drank at mealtime. All other times.  Water is available for you to drink.   
   10.  Do not eat in your bedroom or any other room   other than the kitchen and dining room area without permission from John.  Always put your dishes away.
12. No cell phone or computers in the bedroom after      bedtime.
13. No sitting next to each other on the couch or being under a blanket together, you must always be able to be seen.
14. No grabbing or holding any other children when playing a game or any other time or reason.
15. No taking revenge on other kids for any reason.  Any of these rules can be modified by John at any time.

Image adapted from flickr: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by joelogon