If RAD parents are working with programs or institutions that use RAD guilt trips to manipulate them, the programs are doing more harm than good.
If All of the Guilt Trips Were Poker Chips and Cruise Ships…
When my twenty-one year-old son who has Downs syndrome was little, he had a favorite song: “If All of the Rain Drops Were Lemon Drops and Gum Drops.” (If you haven’t heard the song, you need to click on the link and listen to it while picturing a beautiful little boy with Down syndrome running around a living room pretending to catch candy in his open mouth while singing: “Ah-ahahah-ahahah-ahahah.”) That song, combined with a comment to one of my recent blogs, about what to do with all of the guilt trips from so many places, were the inspiration for this blog article. I think you’ll like appreciate these thoughts on RAD guilt trips.
When it comes to RAD guilt trips, I think I’m still most wound-up about the two-day one I got after a Brat Camp.
My parents quickly learned that guilt trips weren’t the best way to influence my behaviors (at least to influence my good behaviors). “Do whatever you think will make me happy,” would have resulted in a firm resolution for me to watch a trashy slasher film. In our disagreements about whether I would attend church functions, “I would be so proud of you if you would choose to go,” might well have resulted in arson. I hate when people try to motivate manipulate me with guilt. Just that much tells you I have probably had my share of run-ins with (bad) professionals who approach Reactive Attachment Disorder and parents of children with the same, in manipulative ways. When it comes to RAD guilt trips, I think I’m still most wound-up about the two-day one I got after a Brat Camp.
Whatever my daughter learned was undone the last couple of days of the camp with RAD guilt trips.
Brat Camps prefer to be called “Behavioral” or “Correction” Camps, but politicians prefer not to be called… well… let me just stop right there. Brat Camps were basically designed to get a handle on kids whose parents couldn’t control them because the kids used their own personal no-limit credit cards for drugs and hookers without showing respect to their parents who thought they could buy respect from their spoiled teenagers. (My cynical side might be a little bit exaggerative, here.) But hey, I read the ads and Brat Camps seemed to have all of the answers to all of the challenges I was having with my sixteen year-old daughter who had left a Russian orphanage for kids with behavioral problems less than a year before. The first Brat Camp lasted a full two days before they refused to keep my daughter for the contracted time. They made accusations of felonies committed, but refused to call the county sheriff who they claimed would no longer respond to their calls after years of wearing out the numbers “9” and twice as often, “1” on their phones. I figured I got what I paid for, so I wrote a $20,000 check for a more expensive Brat Camp to march my daughter around the desert every day for a month while telling her to catch her own crawfish out of a stream to eat, while she made fires by rubbing sticks together. Wow. I thought that would teach her about immediate consequences. But whatever my daughter learned was undone the last couple of days of the camp with RAD guilt trips.
It was bad enough that the program had laid RAD guilt trips on me. That my daughter had been instructed in how to do the same, added insult to injury.
My wife and I were required to spend the last two days of my daughter’s Trail of Tears in a classroom where we were taught all of the things that we had done to make our daughter the way she was. In order to save my marriage, I “kept my smart mouth shut,” for two days. On the third day, just before reuniting with our daughter, in a morning meeting with an all-knowing third-year college student who was studying psychology, I finally came apart. My wife and I were told to confess serious problems of our own so that we could be on the same vulnerability level as our daughter, so we would know how she felt, and we could all be reunited and work out our problems together. After the meeting, my daughter wasted no time in bringing us up to speed about how we had all done bad things and she was willing to forgive us. I thought about using her newly developed camping skills to dig a shallow grave. It was bad enough that the program had laid RAD guilt trips on me. That my daughter had been instructed in how to do the same, added insult to injury. The camp did my daughter no good, but hey, at least she didn’t jump off a building, to her death, a few years later. Of course I can’t speak for all parents of kids who attended that program.
The right therapist, therapy or program for our children does not use RAD guilt trips with us or our children.
If you haven’t felt it, I’m more than a little bit angry about programs that use guilt to attack RAD parents while sharpening the already deadly skills that children who suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder have in attacking, accusing and shaming their parents. Let me be clear, here (like I haven’t been clear enough, yet). If RAD parents are working with programs or institutions that use RAD guilt trips to manipulate them, the programs and/or institutions are doing more harm than good. I know that there are some institutions (such as public schools) where we have little choice when things go wrong. But when we do have control, we need to choose to not work with manipulative RAD professionals. We get enough of that from our children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder. The right therapist, therapy or program for our families does not use RAD guilt trips with us or our children. Therapists who understand the best ways to treat Reactive Attachment Disorder are very, very difficult to find. But here are some things that will help you to understand if you have one that you should consider replacing.
Sorry about the rabid rant, today. I hope you have never been the victim of RAD guilt trips. Unfortunately, I’m confident that most of you can relate. Don’t stand for it anymore. Do what’s best for your family. Do what’s best for you traumatized child. Do the other things you need to do, regardless of what someone else tells you should to do, “if you really love your child.”
Please don’t feel like you need to ask, to share. 🙂 Few things make me happier than your belief that my writings might help someone else. I love to see the likes, the comments, and especially, the shares. 🙂
Often, readers receive as much help from other readers in the comments section as they do from the blog article, itself. Please be generous with your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. There are lots of people who need what you have to share. This is your chance to help them.
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