Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday triggers for RAD kids

  Any change in routine is difficult for kids like Jon. Even the happiest, most entertaining events are super stressful. Add in the fact that we got him at the beginning of January (meaning he knew he was leaving his old family that Christmas) and this time of year is difficult. He acts out at school and at home. Old negative behaviors raise their ugly heads and he does his absolute best to appear unloveable. Each year it has gotten better with less drama and more true enjoyment. This year I was worried because it is the first time we have ever been medication-free.
  One big difference this year is that I have not been working. Instead I became a substitute teacher for the school district so I am spending a lot of time at the kids' elementary school. I touch base with Jon during the day, giving him hugs and smiles, letting him know I know he can do this. He only had a couple of issues with his behavior and they were pretty minor. Well, except for the day he set off the fire alarm by opening the emergency door in the gym. Ugh! He claimed it was an accident but the teacher watched him put both hands on the release bar, look around, then give it a big push. His story is that he fell into it after he tripped. Yeah, right.
  The vacation days leading up to Cristmas were really busy and he held it together really well. He was a little hyper, but so was every other kid alive. Christmas Day was lovely. Relaxing, happy and great family time. All of the kids had a great day and loved their gifts. It was awesome.
  The day after was okay. He left his remote control helicopter on the floor and a dog chewed on the blades. Only very minor damage but he was sure it was destroyed and fell into a deep, negative mood. I had to work hard to pull him out of it, but it worked and he recovered quickly. He also snuck out ofmthenhouse with his roller skates and tried them out without any safety gear. Luckily he did not get hurt.
  Yesterday the cracks began to appear. I sent the boys to pick up their rooms and the whining and negativity began. A job that should have taken 10 minutes dragged into an hour and Jon had still not picked up anything. Instead he had lost his pants that he had been wearing, wiped spit on is brother, sat on Ahren's head and said several ugly things to anyone close enough to hear him. At this point I went in to help. I find if I break it down into smaller tasks, such as pick up only the blocks and put them into the bucket. As we began this project I found the remote control helicopter in the trash can, again. Then I found several other toys broken and hidden under is bed. I also found empty candy wrappers, sucker sticks and crackers under there. (We have a no-food in the bedrooms rule) Then I found Levi's cell phone under there. At that point I began to ask him about these things. Well, he claimed that he did not do any of it. He blamed everything on various others, but he was innocent. I can handle all the negative behaviors except for the lying. That pushes my buttons! Just admit you ate candy in bed and hid the wrappers. I will remind you of the rules and it is done. But the lying? That is going to destroy his life if it continues. Without that inner self control and sense of responsibility, he will be in danger of ending up on drugs, in jail or dead. I can follow m around at this age and give I'm external clues and control, but I can't do that for ever. He has to internalize it and listen to his own inner voice. He is doing better, but this area is still a  big issue.
  It would be easy to make excuses for him,  to blame his behaviors on RAD/PTSD and give him a break. We have chosen not to do this. Instead we set the bar high. Not just at normal, but at extraordinary. We know he has it in him. If we don't push him to reach high and realize his full potential, he never will. We would be failing him. A close friend of mine has an autistic son and we have discussed this many times. She also pushes her son to higher standards, and he is surpassing all of the professionals' expectations for him. Extraordinary. That is my goal for my son.


Anonymous said...

Wendy -

Jon is a very luck boy to have you and your family.



Reba said...

Though our times haven't been quite as difficult this year, I just find myself nodding as I read your words. This time of year is SOOO hard on those RADish kids. I love what you say. Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

Nikki said...

Great post. Haven't checked in on your blog in awhile... your kids are beautiful!

Nikki - blog design to support my work in India, fostering 7 children with special needs