Friday, June 8, 2012

You and Your RAD Kid: The Importance of the Trust-Building- Honeymoon Period

by John and Diane

Working with a child with a trust disorder (also know as Reactive Detachment Disorder, Attachment disorder), whether it is a new foster child or a child you have adopted can be a frustrating and difficult process, especially if you are not mentally prepared for the rejection and manipulation that is RAD.

Building a foundation of trust with your RAD kid at the very beginning of your relationship with him or her is so vital.  There are many techniques and things that you can do to help this process, so I wanted to focus on it here again.

Every time a parent gets a new child, foster or adopted, there is a “honeymoon period.” This is defined as the time when the child is on his best behavior and expectations are lowered so that the child is always successful.  Normally this lasts one or two weeks.  With kids with behavioral issues or trust disorders you are lucky if you get a day of good behavior. 

You have to try to maintain a honeymoon period for the RAD child (at least on your end) as long as possible to build a foundation of information and attachment on which to grow a future successful relationship.

Building this foundation is not a one or two week process. This could be months of building, so a good memory and plenty of patience is required.

Part of building the foundation of trust with your RAD child is functioning in the Jesus Mode I discuss in the blog posting Tantrums and Trust Disorders: Doorways to Better Relationships (March 24, 2012.) 

    Here are some other things you need to do during the Building of Trust Honeymoon Period with your RAD child in order to set the foundation for future success:

·      Treat the RAD kid as if he is a guest, and not a member of the family. He is not expected to do chores, overall the expectations for him are low and privileges are at maximum. (This would be reversed later on when they become members of the family and are self aware enough of their own bad behaviors and the consequences of them.)

·      When you say you are going to do something… do it. No matter how tired you are at the end of the night, or if circumstances have changed, you can never break your promises to the child, no matter how insignificant the promise may seem.  Keep track of the things you have said, and done for him.

·      Keep track of the times the child has said he was going to do something and has broken his promise.  This is important later on. What you want to do is get a lot more of these times in where you followed through with what you said you would do then he does.  Log it in a book if you have to. You won’t use this in an argument now, but later after the honeymoon period. This is important because RAD kids manipulate and lie and you need to have some kind of proof to win an argument and show them that you don’t lie.  Eventually, when you prove this to him over and over again, he will admit that he is the liar, you are not, and his trust in you will develop.  This takes a long time, so keeping a record is important.

·      Avoid frustration and raising your voice to the child. When you are having difficulty, send the child to his room, get a drink of water, pray, whatever. You don’t want to yell or lose your cool. You want to be able to talk to the child and delve into the behaviors and misdeeds so that you can learn about his or her history. (See the Tantrum article)

·      Create fun memories. Don’t worry about doing too much for the child right now.  You do want to spoil him somewhat, and take lots of pictures. Start a photo album. The beginning of the relationship, this honeymoon period where you are building the foundation for the future, should be a fun time, and extend it as long as possible. You want him or her to remember how much fun he had when he came to your home and how much you put up with from him or her later on. You will use this later to show him that you didn’t give up on him, and he will not want to leave your home, …he or she will feel attached. 

·      Get the extended family into the act.  Bring Grandma and Grandpa into the picture as well to help surround the child with a family unit.  Even if the child never had extended family, they are aware in some part of the roles these people play and have a desire for this “normal” family unit. Allow the grandparent to be “fun” and not get involved in correcting behavior. Correction of behaviors with these types of kids doesn’t really happen within the first year, and when it does, it will happen within the home and with the use of the house rules.

I hope this helps gives some of you with children with trust disorders some hope and guidance.  Working with these kids and this issue is extremely difficult and taxing, so always remember to be good to yourself, take breaks when you need to, ask for help and vent to friends. We here at FPR, and all our Friends on FB are always just an email away and want to help if we can. 

Attribution Some rights reserved by photo.lady2000

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