Coping Strategies for RAD Parents
- Remember that it’s not your fault
- Do what must be done with confidence
- Forgive yourself
- Find respite care and use it
- Create a good support network
Coping while parenting a child with RAD is tough. If you have a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, you probably never pictured parenting looking like this. Rather than cuddles and sweet smiles from your child, you deal with violent arguments, swearing, screaming, and damage of your home and possessions. This is far beyond typical tantrums and childish irresponsibility. This is Reactive Attachment Disorder. Parenting a child with RAD is tough, so along with getting professional help, you probably want to remember these five coping strategies for parents of kids with RAD.
Remember that it’s not your fault
Parenting kids with RAD is tough, but it is not your fault. According to Psychology Today, kids with this disorder are victims of a mental illness, and you did not necessarily cause it. Frequently, this disorder is linked to early childhood trauma, whether in your home or out of your home. Whatever the reason, the best parent on the planet will be challenged by RAD behaviors. Do the best you can and hold your head high. Don’t give into discouragement and depression because your child is very challenging.
Do what must be done with confidence
When you have kids with RAD, you’re going to have to learn to parent with confidence, even if people around you judge you harshly. You know that your child will do better with inflexible limits and unconventional parenting methods. You may be “that” parent, choosing to ignore behaviors in your child while other parents whisper behind your back. Remember that judgy people don’t know what you’re up against, and learn to parent with confidence that you’re going to do the best that you can. Learn to smile and be gracious when people give you unwanted advice, but don’t feel that you owe them an explanation.
There are no perfect parents, and you will make mistakes when you’re parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Learn to let go of your mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes you will react badly, but don’t take too much responsibility for your child’s poor behavior. Remember that even a perfect parent would struggle to stay calm and gentle when faced with the behaviors that a RAD child brings into a home. Making a parenting mistake is not the end of the world and will not irreversibly damage your child.
Find respite care and use it
Parenting a kid with RAD is tough and completely draining. You will need time away from this child, even though you love the child so completely. Find respite caregivers who can give you regular breaks from your RAD child. You will need to be able to rest and rejuvenate your mind, your marriage, and your relationships with your other children, and that is okay. Make sure that the respite caregiver knows a bit about RAD and will be willing to follow your directions for what works best for your child. Warn them that “typical” parenting strategies don’t work for RAD children.
Create a support network
Not only will you need respite caregivers to help you implement your coping strategies for parents of kids with RAD, but you will also need an entire support network. You may need someone to call on bad days who will not judge you or your family harshly. Also, you will need an experienced therapist to help you work through the emotional conflicts that parenting such a challenging child brings. Therapy for your child and yourself is non-negotiable when dealing with RAD. Find a support group of other parents with RAD so you can find a friend who can really understand what you are going through.
It takes love like iron to parent a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, but it is far from impossible. Get professional help for your child, and do what is best for your child and your family. Using these coping strategies for parents of kids with RAD will help you thrive while you are doing the hard work of parenting.
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