Friday, March 21, 2008

A Couple of Hard Days

Goldilocks(7) started falling apart on Monday.  It started off with some back talk and quickly turned into mean-spirited play with her siblings and hitting them.  Then she started putting herself into unsafe situations.  She also -- in a blink of an eye --completely "forgot" how to obey me.  This is a normal cycle with a child suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, and it means that they need their world smaller, tighter, and safer feeling.  RAD children crave structure and a very strong adult (even though they act like they want the opposite).  So here is a look at Goldilocks having a tight day with lots of structure.  She started her day with strong sitting (first photo).  Strong sitting is not exactly a time out, but more of a time to collect herself and think about how she can have a strong heart.  She ends a session of strong sitting with telling me her six jobs.  The six jobs are to (1) be respectful, (2) be responsible, (3) be fun to be with, (4) doing things fast and snappy, (5) doing things right the first time, and (6) doing things the adult's way.

Next, Goldilocks moved onto a chore.  She actually really enjoys chores and always responds well to these extra tight days.  On this particular day, she cleaned both bathrooms, her bedroom and folded several loads of laundry with me.  Then it is back to strong sitting whenever she is done with a task.

She stays in a strong sit until you see her attitude change by showing a more relaxed manner.

This goes around and around until I think she can handle some play or school time with just me.  She is then allowed to play on a blanket.  I pick a few toys for her to play with on the blanket. Everything that she is playing with stays with her on the blanket, and she can play by herself or with me for awhile.  (In the photo, she has a bowl of Legos to play with.)  There is no play with siblings on these days.  However, her sibs can be near her and can occasionally talk to her but must stay off her blanket.

The standard rule for Goldilocks is that she must stay in the same room as me unless she is in her bedroom.  But on special days like these, she stays within a few feet of me.  It still amazes me how quickly she responds to this tightness and how much she obeys.  There are no spankings or yelling -- just consistent and tight parenting.  We also have several cuddling times with conversations to get her feelings out on days like these (and every day, of course).  The hardest part of a day like this is getting everyone else through their school work and chores.  However, keeping peace in my home is more important than getting through my To Do List.

We did have some Easter fun this week, and I will be posting that later today.  I just thought some of you may be interested in the day in a life with a RAD child.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Sorry you had such an "interesting" day, but I'm so proud of you~ sounds like you are very well-informed and know exactly how to handle these situations.


  2. PeterRabbitPreschoolMarch 22, 2008 at 1:43 PM

    I just visited the library today to pick up some new books on the topic of "Sibling rivalry" (for new ideas) - I'm dealing with mostly the normal stuff of two kids close in age, competing for my attention, and also REALLY irritating each other and making it difficult for everyone to live in peace. I know several difficult days of that exhausts me - you really must have to work hard to keep the structure needed for your Goldilocks - she's blessed to have you!


  3. Sounds like you've found a solution that works quite well. I hadn't heard of RAD before, I will look into it now.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!! Later this week, I'll be posting pictures from Iwo Jima.

    Have a wonderful day!

  4. Thank you for sharing about that difficult day. While my children do not have RAD, I do believe they benefit from days I keep them closer to me and the boundaries smaller. Seeing how other homes implement this is helpful!

  5. I have read a lot about RAD. I pray the system does right by my littlest one and saves him from this future. I love your 6 jobs. They are simple and clear and still cover all the basics. It looks like you really have a handle on this. I look forward to reading your archives and learning more about you.

  6. Hi Dawn,

    You can try Biological Treatments for Children with Autism. I may have some others listed under autism category on my blog. Most of my info I get on the Yahoogroups talking to multitudes of other parents, & having dealt with various practitioners over the years, & just watching the kids to see what's happening. What you're describing in your child sounds yeasty though. If diet is helping he may have leaky gut. Perhaps start with some probiotics... I mention some good ones on my blog. Then there are various antifungals depending on the child. You can email me if I can help with more specifics...

    Your little one looks like she's doing much better here!

    Blessings, Michele

  7. I really appreciate seeing how you achieve order. I admire your conviction and love that you have have for your children. You are a wonderful mom.

  8. Dawn,

    I applaud how you have chosen to help your child with strategies that really look like they work. I have a child that when he was younger, we kept sort of the same routine with him. It does take time and energy but I am so in agreement that peace is better than the alternative.

    Sending you strength,

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  9. THis sounds a lot like what i've been reading in Raising Godly Tomatoes.

    It's good to see it in action on your blog and hear that it really works.


  10. How facinating! I absolutely LOVE the techniques you are using with Goldilocks. May I ask, how do you get her to sit for her special times of thinking as well as on the blanket?