It’s good and it’s bad. It’s happy and sad. I love to hate RAD school. Or maybe I hate to love it.
Ahhh… The Double Edged Sword of Back to School With RAD
Fixed Schedules! Time away from home! Alone time for parents! Woo Hoo!!! Triangulation. Manipulation. False accusations. Defensive reactions. Ummm… yeah. It’s the double edged sword of RAD school.
It’s good and it’s bad. I love to hate RAD school. Or maybe I hate to love it.
Our kids from hard places seem to excel in certain areas at school (perhaps not grades…). Teachers love them (at least for a while). Their charm adds friends to their groups. They feel more comfortable in a place where, let’s face it, shallow relationships abound. The grading system is very visual in their performance and helps, at least somewhat, compared to the vague measuring systems we have for performance in our homes and families. It’s good and it’s bad. It’s happy and sad. I love to hate RAD school. Or maybe I hate to love it.
RAD school brings back the opportunity for fun and enjoyable, but limited attachments, attachments they can afford to lose.
Last year I posted a blog article about 10 things you could do to prepare to go back to RAD School, so I won’t repeat myself. But I would like to add some ideas. Many of our children thrived in institutional type settings. They felt safe in those settings, even if not happy. And safety is everything to kids who have been in very unsafe, perhaps even life-threatening situations. They tend to let the primal brain control their lives rather than giving the intellectual part of their brain its due. At home, they feel a requirement (if not a need) to attach at levels that their brain warns them is unsafe. They could invest more than they can afford to lose on an emotional and psychological level. RAD school brings back the opportunity for fun and enjoyable, but limited attachments, attachments they can afford to lose.
Yes, as parents, we see all kinds and they repeat every year at RAD school.
Still, RAD school is an unknown to our kids, every year. And since many of our children have seen worst case scenarios, they always fear the worst when entering a new situation. Their brains are overloaded with stress chemicals as they walk through those metal framed doors. Often they begin cycles of trying every tactic they have ever used, with every new person in their new realm, to see what works with whom. Then each person is categorized into a file. The new English teacher might fit in with people who believe a sad story and will go to bat for her to protect a lie, no matter how absurd. A new friend at the lunch table is easily manipulated into giving gifts when parents are presented as mean, unfair and stingy. A certain administrator can be tricked into allowing a certain amount of rule breaking with the promise of showing that he does better at getting our child to perform, than others. Those ones are my favorites (notes, if not songs of sarcasm dripping from that statement). They look good for a while, but they have to continue to renegotiate away more and more rules to get the same behavior. Finally, when they have to give in to three homicides a week, they stand firm and the child burns them to the ground. Yes, as parents, we see all kinds and they repeat every year at RAD school.
As the comedian, Ron White, is fond of saying… “You can’t fix stupid.” (I might add, especially at RAD School!)
That’s the good news. As RAD parents, we’ve seen it all before. We know what works and we know what doesn’t. We have the information. We can make copies of former letters from therapists. We can print off pertinent blog articles and share them with those who would listen. (If it helps, here are my blog articles sorted by those applying to Reactive Attachment Disorder. There are over six pages of menu with twelve articles, each. I hope you can find what you need.) Just like last year at RAD school, a few will listen and some won’t. Most will begin to listen as they witness first-hand the unusual manifestations of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Some are just stupid. And as the comedian, Ron White, is fond of saying… “You can’t fix stupid.” (I might add, especially at RAD School!)
I think inconsistency is what makes RAD school so comfortable for our kids from hard places.
So, watch for the same things you have seen other years at RAD school. Remember what worked in times past, what didn’t, and begin with methods that worked before. Sometimes your efforts will produce fruits and sometimes they won’t. Inconsistency is the only constant in lives and families touched by Reactive Attachment Disorder. In fact, I think inconsistency is what makes RAD school so comfortable for our kids from hard places.
Reactive Attachment Disorder is all about our children believing that noting is forever. They live their whole lives based on the stress that things will change. People go away. And school? Well, school comes to an end, every year, just like clockwork. And if nothing else does, RAD school teaches our kids that they aren’t crazy to believe that nothing lasts forever. How sad is that?
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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