Oops! Meant to post this on Tues. Oh well. Here it is now....
The topic of today's post is more related to general parenting than it is to RAD/attachment, however, I have found I use this concept more now that I have a RADish in the fold.
It's about special treatment.
I know the trend today is equal treatment for all kids. If Suzie has a birthday, you'd better be sure little Johnny has something to open as well, so he doesn't feel left out. If McKenzie ran in the race on field day, she'd better get a medal for "participation", even if she finished middle of the pack.
Well, call me slow, but I've never caught on to this particular trend. I don't think we're doing this generation of kids any favors by letting them think "everyone's a winner". We're not. Some excel at running, some at art, some at cheer and others at math. And that's OK.
On the flip side, some kids need a little extra help at things their peers find easy-peezy. That's alright, too. And what do we do with kids that need some extra help, and could easily get quite discouraged? We find ways to help motivate them.
I've always tried to teach my kids that fairness has a way of making the rounds. Your brother got some special reward/treat today? Great, let's be happy for him. That may be you next week. Or next month. Who knows?
Sometimes, one of the kids may need a little extra help to get through a tough section in their science class. Maybe I might reward them in some small way if they completed all their homework, and they studied, and they did passably well on the test.
When the kids were little and one of them had to take a nasty course of antibiotics, I was no stranger to sticker charts to help motivate them, with a little prize at the end to reward them for getting through it.
Likewise, kids with RAD need extra help learning to be a part of a family.
And I'd better not hear, "He gets a reward just for being nice? NO FAIR!" Because you know what? That doesn't come easy to him, and he needs a little help to learn how to do it. Just like the others, at different times, needed help learning to read, or keeping their room clean, or establishing the habit of using their agenda book in school, or using the potty, or anything else that might have been difficult or challenging at one time or another.
The list of things that a child with attachment issues or a history of trauma might have trouble with could include:
appropriate physical boundaries
putting forth effort in school
understanding the sense of a "family"
contributing to chores
resolving disputes in a controlled manner
I have no problem using incentives to help a child of mine learn these concepts. To me it is no different than any of the other examples I listed above. The hard part can be educating others (siblings, teachers, other family members, parents of friends) that there is no difference.
It should be this simple:
Area of struggle (_____) for the child ---> help from parent in a way that will be meaningful for the child.
I should be able to fill in any area of struggle into the blank, not just the ones people are used to seeing most commonly. Practice the trumpet? Clean your room? Say something nice to your sibling?
Help your children (and others, as needed) learn that it doesn't matter what area your child is struggling with. What matters is that you've identified it, and you are helping him or her in the best way you know how.
Previous posts on Attachment:
Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.7 Add It On
Attachment.8 - Attachment Activities
Don't forget, I am now posting daily on my blog Life on the Funny Farm. Come on over!
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