life on the funny farm

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adoption Tuesday - Attachment.6


When I was a newbie to RAD, I was pretty clueless about how to handle giving consequences to my son. What had always worked for me with my other kids absolutely did not work with him. Although I sort of knew the 'why' behind it
namely, control
it didn't make it any easier to navigate my way through the stormy seas I was sailing through.

You parents out there, you know the drill when it comes to disciplining your child...

Back sass? Hand over your phone.
Refuse to pitch in for chores? Give me your DS.
Pick a fight with your brother? Go to your room.

Ummm, no. Can't take from him, can't make him.
Even a couple years ago he was bigger than I was. And even if he wasn't? No amount of me trying to lord over him was going to be met with compliance. No way in hell.

Only made him dig in deeper, and I always found myself looking like the ineffectual idiot that I was.

That is, till my good friend Dee offered me some advice. See, she was going through roughly the same thing as I was, only she had more experience as well as more actual book knowledge in these matters than I.

What she advised was to not threaten to remove privileges or give extra chores, or anything else that involved some level of cooperation from him. She reminded me that there are always favors our kids want from us, and that withholding favors, as simple as it sounds, was the most effective way to give consequences.

So if my child was disrespecting me, I learned not to get all angry and start telling him he was going to have extra chores or no phone or anything else that could result in a power struggle, but to simply let him know that when he treats me disrespectfully and unkindly, it makes me feel like I do not want to help him out, or to do nice things for him.

The ride to his friend's house he was hoping for? Not gonna happen.
That special snack he likes me to make? Don't much feel like making that anymore.
Not in a nanny-nanny-foo-foo kind of way, but in a simply stated, when you're not kind to me and to others in the family, I'm left not wanting to do nice things for you, or to help you out.

That has helped me tremendously.

There's another trick I've learned, too, but it's late. I think I'll save that one for next week.

I should also say that I know I had talked earlier about consequences that involve the cooperation of the child (like handing over a phone or doing extra chores). There is a time in your child's progress where that can work, and James (and I) are reaching it. In the past, we could not go there, and I needed to really learn to scale things back to the extremely simplified method above. Only very gradually can you introduce discipline in which the child struggling with RAD can take part in voluntarily giving up a privilege, or taking on a chore. Know your child, and tread lightly when moving forward.

Sorry I did things kind of out of order, but I hadn't really planned this series out in terms of what and when I would introduce concepts. In other words, I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, so please bear with me.

If you want to revisit any of the topics in attachment I've already covered, here are the links:

Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.4 Control
Attachment.5 Cycles

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  1. Very interesting. I would have taken away the item instead of the nice thing they would expect from me.

  2. I hear ya', Andrea. And that's exactly what I tried to do for quite awhile. Problem was, it was backfiring big time and left him feeling like he held all the cards. He seemed to enjoy letting me know that I could not force him to xyz (go to his room, empty the d/w, etc), so it worked well for him to realize it worked in reverse, also.



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