March 29 – Classic RAD Behaviors: Predictable, but Still Not Fun

For the most part the past two weeks have been ordinary (as ordinary as it gets for Ana). She did pull two classic RAD moves, though, that I think are worth noting.

First, I decided it was time to finally put up the wall stickers she got for Christmas. I had been waiting for a relatively stable time so she wouldn’t immediately rip them down. I thought a calm Tuesday afternoon was the perfect time.

These stickers are totally Ana! They are neon paisley peace signs – very teen looking, which is what Ana is all about these days.

We went down to her bedroom and she was excited. I let her pick where on the wall to put the stickers and then I put them up for her. The first one went great. All smiles and giggles.

Then the evil RAD monster came into the room. Like a switch Ana began screaming, kicking her pillows and bed, hitting herself and reacting in pure rage.

Now, the typical person would have reacted with anger, saying something like this, “Why are you so upset? There is nothing to be upset about. I bought these expensive stickers for you and this is how you act?? See if I ever get you nice things again!” and then hey would leave the room angry.

But, understanding RAD, I didn’t say this but instead continued on as if nothing was wrong. I kept my attitude nice and happy and didn’t make a big deal over her behavior. And I’m happy to report the stickers are still up!

Why did she do this? My best guess is because it made her REALLY happy and she felt all loved when I began putting up HER stickers in HER room. Her pervasive shame does not allow for those feelings, so she resorted to what is allowed – anger. I wish I understood more of why RAD brains do that, but sadly I don’t.

I pull a lot of my reactions from the book, Building the Bonds of Attachment, and that’s how I tried to model my behavior in this episode. I think it worked.

Her second classic RAD moment was when my husband and I went on a date and left her and her siblings with a sitter. Ana HATES when we go on a date. She wants to go with us. So, since she can’t go with us, she pulls out her best stuff for the sitter guaranteeing a frantic call to me mid-dinner that (hopefully) will bring us back home.

This time, she got naked and trashed the storage room in the basement.  We got the call 20 minutes into dinner. I told the sitter to go ahead and give her the sleepy pills and hold her (if needed) for 20 minutes until they kicked in.

I felt bad for the sitter (even though she is trained to handle Ana and her pay DEFINITELY reflects that), but I couldn’t let Ana win that one.

After dinner we did come home for a minute before moving on to our next activity. We pretended like we forgot something. Ana was already in bed so we left well enough alone.

Why does she behave like this?  I figure it’s part separation anxiety (she has bonded with me but we haven’t moved much further than about the 10 month stage developmentally) and part ‘if I don’t get my way, you’ll pay’ which Ana is famous for.

All we can do is continue living our lives showing Ana that even though her feelings might propel her to behave atrociously, we still love her and will always come home to her at the end of the night.

Have any of you found ways to lesson the stress of sitter nights? We typically don’t go out when she is with us because of this. You don’t want to know how many sitters we have gone through!

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November 26 – Jealousy issues

potty training

potty training

Today was pretty good for Ana. Her agitation was markedly decreased when I picked her up at school. She did get upset at home because I was helping her sister make a movie. She was jealous of my time but there wasn’t much I could do about it. She did earn bringing logs to the porch as a consequence for throwing a fi but she did it without much fuss (mainly b/c I helped her).

At bedtime she was making lots of yucky noises (still because I was helping her sister) and I told her she had to go to bed if that was what she was going to do. She protested a lot and promised she’d be quiet. I told her I’d give her one more chance but if she made her yucky noises she was going to bed – no questions. She said she understood. Less than three minutes later she went to the bathroom and started screaming. When I told her that was her last chance and it was bed time she didn’t argue. She took ownership!! This is a huge milestone for us!

Once in bed she made a little noise but was not destructive or self-injuring.