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Chat With Rhonda

April 2011

As I said in January there are four things children need from their parents: 1. Healthy parents 2. Consistency 3. Structure 4. High levels of nurturing. The past three chats have been dedicated to how caregivers can get and keep themselves healthy. Now it is time to explore how to prove the RAD child with consistency. In the most simplest of terms it means say what you mean and mean what you say. Also think before you speak.

Most RAD children are masters at manipulation and intimidation so usually they have learned that if they nag and badger a caregiver they get what they want. This needs to end now. If you have gotten into that cycle with your child a way to stop it is to shorten the consequences to a resemble time frame that you can really stick with. This includes instead of taking their privilege of watching TV for a week and giving in three days into the consequence only take it for two days and stick with it. Plan on your RAD child increasing their acting out behaviors when they begin to realize that you mean what you say. But in time they will indeed figure out that the old way of controlling you does not work.

Another issue is we get into the habit of focusing on too many behaviors or issues at once therefore we become exhausted and frustrated when the child does not change. I recommend working on only three and no more than five behaviors or issues at a time. I have the caregivers I work with come up with about five different consequences for each issue and post them on the refrigerator so when you see that behavior it can be said that this is the consequence for your behavior. An example of this is the behavior we want to change is that the child kicks the dog. So whenever you catch them looking like they are going to kick the dog, kicking at the dog, or really kicking the dog, you can give a consequence off that list. I am a believer in consequences needing to be a direct connection to what the child did as much as possible. A possible consequence would be the child owes the dog a five minute belly scratch under your supervision.

In other words once you decide what are the unacceptable behaviors that you plan to work on changing, hold the child accountable for their actions every time. But change the consequences up so they are not able to predict what you did give as a consequence. RAD children are the biggest gamblers, if they can get by with it once then they will keep doing the behavior.

RAD children do not believe that they are safe and that you will keep them safe. Most of their acting out is a testing process to see if indeed you will keep them safe from themselves and others.

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