While I hoped that her going back to work meant RAD rebuilding, another step forward, she just figured she needed to turn up the charm.
Rebuilding the House of Cards. Again.
If you have been following my writing about Reactive Attachment Disorder for a while, now, you have heard me talk about progress in children who suffer from RAD as being a constant journey of three-steps-forward and two-steps-back. Of course that does equate to progress, though not as rapidly as we would like. I’m not a doomsdayer when it comes to children who suffer from the very unusual and frustrating effects of Reactive Attachment Disorder, but I get tired, just like you do. My Twitter profile says: “Thank heaven for Tylenol and caffeine.” Over the past week I have needed more than the usual of both as well as the additional coping tool that my Twitter profile fails to mention: profanity. OK. I know I shouldn’t use that one, but we’re honest, here, right? And when the house of cards finally came tumbling down and I knew that we would be right back to RAD rebuilding… Well… I… I guess more explaining is in order.
There was the chance, if not the likelihood, that the first job outside of the family would lead to RAD rebuilding.
Since I was fortunate enough to own part of a family business, I have always had more ability than most to start my children on an early path of learning to work in a real job. Of course learning to work begins at home, with chores and responsibilities long before a “real job” starts. But we were always as quick as laws would allow us, to get our children into a job where they would be held to the same standards as other employees. They quickly learned that sometimes your work schedule makes it so you miss things you don’t want to miss. They learned that their paychecks didn’t ever allow for them to buy everything they wanted, especially after learning the other all-important lesson; taxes. As my brothers and I sold our business early this year, we lost the ability to provide our teenaged kids with summer jobs in our own company, though we were able to retain a small cleaning contract to keep them in work a few hours a week in the evenings. Of course that wasn’t enough money to keep the oldest ones happy, so they learned another important lesson. They pounded the pavement with the hoard of other high school students looking to make more money over the summer. One of my children was lucky and quickly got a job in a local diner. I hoped that job would be the first in a never-ending progression of three steps forward, three steps forward, three steps forward, but come on. I’m a realist. There was the chance, if not the likelihood, that the first job outside of the family would lead to RAD rebuilding.
He was happy to help and all of us hoped that we would be experiencing RAD building without RAD rebuilding.
The owner of the business that hired my kid was awesome. He was aware that my child had come from a difficult history and he wanted to make sure that we, as parents, thought it was possible for our child to succeed in this new venture. We were honest, gave him some things to watch for, and told him to teach her about the real world. Then we promised that we would back him up. He was happy to help and all of us hoped that we would be experiencing RAD building without RAD rebuilding.
The first RAD rebuilding in that situation was a meeting with me and a very patient small business owner, who gave me time he didn’t have, while I explained what had really happened.
The warning signs were there the second my child turned on her RAD charm. Everybody at work loved her! I told my daughter to make sure that she was doing her job, because people at work don’t continue to like you if you don’t do your job. Of course, she already knew that. I should mind my own business. Within a couple of weeks my daughter told me that she was going to take time off to go to a girls’ camp. I told her that she had to miss some family things because of work, and while that was fine, and even responsible, that a girls’ camp was not more important than family things and that I wasn’t going to allow her to request the time off. She came home that night telling me that she had told her boss that she couldn’t continue to miss family things because it was important to her dad, and that she also needed time off for the girls’ camp. She was excited as she told me that her boss was great with the new arrangement. Arggghhhh! I hate RAD manipulation! Needless to say, the first RAD rebuilding in that situation was a meeting with me and a very patient small business owner, who gave me time he didn’t have, while I explained what had really happened. The guy was earning feathers for angel wings when he suggested that we could give her another chance and he jumped on board the RAD rebuilding wagon.
While I hoped going back to work meant RAD rebuilding, another step forward, she just figured she needed to turn up the charm.
My daughter already had the time off for the girls’ camp, so I kept her at home experiencing some RAD consequences, along with explanations of it being only a sample of what would happen if she lost her job. She did little-kid jobs around the house for little-kid pay. After a week, she was happy to get back to work at her job. While I hoped going back to work meant RAD rebuilding, another step forward, she just figured she needed to turn up the charm.
I thanked him for the part he had played in teaching my child about the real world and for how he had gone beyond the call of duty in helping us with RAD rebuilding.
I noticed that soon after starting back at work, her hours were cut back. I decided to let a guy run his own business and I talked with my daughter about bosses (like me) and how we work. I told her that bosses don’t have time to beg people to do their jobs. I told her they just cut back hours while they train someone else. My daughter was confident, though that she could just increase the charm to outlandish levels and continue to feed me partial truths and outright lies. Last weekend, an awesome small business owner called me to confirm what I suspected while telling me he needed to terminate my daughter’s employment. Of course I was supportive. I thanked him for the part he had played in teaching my child about the real world and for how he had gone beyond the call of duty in helping us with RAD rebuilding.
So now we have taken the second step back. We can start working on the next sequence of three steps forward in RAD rebuilding, which will of course happen at home. My daughter has demonstrated that her RAD age, when it comes to work, is about ten years old. Now she’ll be expected to act good for a ten-year-old, until we can move to the next level of RAD rebuilding. So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get her started washing our cars…
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.
Read more blog articles by John M. Simmons about Disorders/Mental Illness
Return to John M. Simmons’ Blog
Ensure you don’t miss anything when you sign up for notifications