RAD scheduling means that we must deal with other priorities in between raging wildfires. If not, Reactive Attachment Disorder will consume everything.
It’s Kind of Like Vacuuming up Dust on the Moon
Sorry about that title, but I didn’t know what else to call this very important subject. I know it sounded like a slimy advertisement; the one that catches your attention because the stupid parts of our brains pause for a micro second wondering if the advertiser really is giving away a free boat and motor. I hope that you didn’t do what we do when we see ads like that; pause for that micro second, then angrily click away while cursing the “not so bright” part of our brains. The smart part of your brain already knows the truth. You’re not going to find a great answer to RAD scheduling any more than I’m going to give you a free boat and motor.
We had no idea that things could get more inconvenient than baby scheduling. But RAD scheduling made baby scheduling look like a kindergarten assignment.
But you need a good answer for RAD scheduling even more than you want a new boat and motor. That’s because Reactive Attachment Disorder is overwhelming. No. That’s not quite correct. Reactive Attachment Disorder is all-consuming. I remember when Amy gave birth to our first son. That was a life and relationship altering moment. All of a sudden, spontaneity wasn’t going out to dinner; it was changing a diaper or cleaning up projectile vomiting. Everything now depended on us scheduling around a baby. We had no idea that things could get more inconvenient than baby scheduling. But RAD scheduling made baby scheduling look like a kindergarten assignment.
Here’s the point. The house isn’t on fire as often as we think it is. RAD scheduling can still allow for other priorities.
Reactive Attachment Disorder mandates that we live our lives in crisis-management mode. When the house is on fire, we put out the fire; we don’t finish frying the hamburger for a Tater Tot casserole. So let’s cut to the chase. How will we ever be able to eat dinner, or any other meal, for that matter? The house ALWAYS seems to be on fire! How do we live our lives without putting out fires until starvation pushes us to finding a meal even if the house does burn down? Soon we realize that the house will burn down if we starve to death, anyway. We might as well watch the smoldering ashes with a full stomach. Here’s the point. The house isn’t on fire as often as we think it is. RAD scheduling can still allow for other priorities.
RAD scheduling means that we must deal with other priorities unless there is a raging wildfire.
We mistakenly think that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That isn’t always the case. Take, for instance, lightning strikes. Many, if not most, are a potential for fire. But not all of them turn into fires. Many of them smolder for hours and go out on their own. And with lightning comes rain. Sometimes the rain puts out the fire before it becomes an issue. So it is with Reactive Attachment Disorder. As parents, we have learned the patterns with our children. When they start down a path, we know where it leads. So every time we smell smoke, we go rushing into the mountains to put out the fire before it really starts… we never give it a chance to go out on its own. With Reactive Attachment Disorder in our homes, we don’t have time to react to the smell of smoke. RAD scheduling means that we must deal with other priorities in between raging wildfires.
Stop allowing RAD scheduling to be the only thing you do in your life.
As parents of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, most of us aren’t spring chickens anymore. Our responsibilities have compounded over the years. We’d be busy people without the whole Reactive Attachment Disorder catastrophe. We have other children who need attention. We have marriage relationships that need commitment and input to survive. Many of us have aging parents who need us. And we must take some “me time.” I remember a funny movie with Andie Macdowell and Michael Keaton called Multiplicity. In it, Michael Keaton’s character is completely overwhelmed with his responsibilities. At one point, a scientist asks him what he does for fun and he responds that he golfs. The Scientist tells him that golf is a great pastime and asks him how often he gets out. Michael Keaton responds; “Never. But I’m gonna have to cut back. And that’s really gonna hurt.” Do you ever feel like that? When is the last time you spent time doing your favorite thing? Don’t tell me. You stopped doing it. Then you cut back. Stop it. Stop allowing RAD scheduling to be the only thing you do in your life.
With RAD scheduling, do everything you need to do from day to day and allow Reactive Attachment Disorder to control only what time it absolutely must, and in between the other things you need to do.
Stop stopping. Don’t stop everything you are doing every time you smell smoke. Don’t think that by chasing the smell of smoke you can stop a wildfire with early intervention. You can’t. When your child is showing some early signs of a meltdown, keep working on your other responsibilities. Take some me time away. I’m not telling you to ignore the child, but don’t turn yourself over to them. Even if a small fire starts, give it some time to put itself out. Throw some water on in as you pass by, in the process of taking your feeble father to lunch. RAD Exhaustion and tell your child you love her and allow insurance to take care of the damage to the house when you don’t bow to her demands for you to return to deal with a crisis she has created. With RAD scheduling, do everything you need to do from day to day and allow Reactive Attachment Disorder to control only what time it absolutely must, and in between the other things you need to do.
With Reactive Attachment Disorder, wildfires will come and go no matter what you do. Don’t fall victim to the “all or nothing” scenario that these children saddle us with. Even if they say it’s all or nothing, it’s not. Don’t take the nothing option and leave the child to confirm their deepest fears, that you would also abandon them. Explain to your child that no, you won’t give them all of your time and attention, but that nothing is just as unacceptable. You will be there when they need you and you will help them as much as they really need (not necessarily demand) you to help. Meanwhile, they need to understand that you also have other responsibilities. RAD Narcissism and there will be a period of mild adjustment (mild like a tsunami). But you will begin to bring back an important part of your life that you really need. Reactive Attachment Disorder is not you. It is not your child. Reactive Attachment Disorder is simply one of the things that you need to deal with. You have a life. You need to live it more than once in a blue moon. Take it back with RAD scheduling.
This is my favorite video about RAD. But I’m a guy who likes to know, why.
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