Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adoption Tuesday - Attachment.2

Last week I began a series on attachment that I thought I would continue every Tuesday. At least for awhile.

Sometimes I will feature an article, sometimes provide a tip, and at times I will just share my experiences and thoughts.


Just a quick tip.

In last week's post, I made the analogy of the parent being like a tree, with the roots being the underlying love the parent has for the child, and the leaves representing the parent's emotions:

The leaves are emotions, and they change as the weather and the seasons change: sometimes happy, sometimes sad, or angry, or frustrated. Regardless of the leaves, though, the tree remains stable, and firmly rooted to the ground. Children with RAD have difficulty with this concept, and will mistake the parent's current emotion for his underlying feelings towards him. In other words, if the parent is angry, the child feels that the parent does not love him.

Because of this, I feel it is important to let your RADish know that even while you are feeling angry towards him or her, there is still love.

What works for me and my son (with RAD) is that while I am angry with him, and talking with a raised voice or more intense tone, I will hold my hand up in the sign for "I love you". In this way, he is getting the message that I love him even though my face and voice and words are telling him I am angry. He has had a lot of difficulty knowing that both can occur simultaneously, and this is a very visual reminder for him.

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Lou Ann said...

Great tip Anne. I am fortunate to say Lexie doesn't have any RAD issues but she is a kid after all and there are times when I raise my voice to her. She is very sensitive and so gets upset with just a raised voice. She's learned sign language in school and knows the symbole for I Love You so I will definitely use your tip. Maybe it will remind us BOTH that I love her and calm me down right along with her.

Lou Ann

Anne Kimball said...

Thanks, Lou Ann. Good point, that could be helpful for any child!

Sarah said...

I cannot tell you how much I love this post. What an excellent visual reminder! It is not uncommon that at the tense conclusion of a disagreement with my argumentative child(ren), I will say, "and you know I love you right? No matter what?" but I love the sign language more.

. said...

Could be helpful with any child if it is used in the right way - not manipulatively. I was one of those extreme rule following kids but when I moved in with my dad and step-mom at age 14 (after living with my mom got unbearable and I chose to leave) it was amazing how much I disrupted their way of life. They would leave me passive-aggressive notes about the tiny imperfections I had and how I needed to shape up or, it was made clear at one point, ship out (yes, I have some of my own attachment issues). They would always sign the notes, "I love you," and my internal response was to hate the "I love you" part of the note the most as it felt insincere and like they were saying it to make themselves feel better. It made ME feel worse - pit of my stomach nausea worse. I can't explain it any better than that. I'm a written word gal too, so seeing it on paper rather than them just talking to me calmly about my infractions was devastating. Anyways, that's my 2 cents....if this works for you and James, that it cool, but in certain relationships/if the parent isn't careful about how they do it, I could see it having an opposite effect, if that makes sense.
Shan in CO

Anne Kimball said...

Sarah, I was doing that, too (reminding child at conclusion of argument that I love him), but I always felt like my voice still had too much tension in it for him to really feel what I was saying, which is why I started with the sign.

Shan, wow. That sounds really rough, and I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Also, thanks for sharing your story with me, b/c it brings a new perspective to the situation. Hopefully anyone reading this can take that into consideration. God bless!

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