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Monday, December 5, 2011

RAD: What works: Brenda Nelson

What works:

Parenting our  children with loving eyes, gentle appropriate touch and attunement bring healing. Looking for the fear and sadness under the behavior and helping them understand what is driving the behavior brings healing. Keeping them close by physically when they are falling apart and helping them calm themselves brings healing. Having fun with them in short happy moments (long ones are too much) brings healing.....You can do this. It takes practice. It takes calming yourself first.

What does not work:

Being authoritarian in a military fashion
Angry eyes
Natural consequences (yes they need them, because life will give them whether they figure it out or not, but it does not bring healing)
Time out (use time in when they stay near you quietly)

Feel free to share your successes and input! YOU are the experts.


  1. What worked for us? Well I can name a lot of things that didn't work! haha, but a few things have consistently worked. One is to teach, teach, teach and then back off saying "well you get to choose." An example is when my adopted daughter (RAD, ODD, PTSD, ADHD, ABCDEFG....) refused to eat for quite a while. She actually lost a third of her body weight (she was 8.) I realized that she was doing this because all of her doctors and I wanted her to eat more. So after teaching about the importance of nutrition, offering healthy choices, I finally backed off and said "ultimately you choose what happens to you. I hope you will be healthy, but you get to choose." She really wanted control that badly. I have to creatively find ways to let her choose the right choice. She ultimately gave up the food war, but she regularly picks up a new cause. (refusing to brush her teeth, etc.) So I teach, teach, teach and then back off and let her choose.

    When so much was going badly and not fun, I began to look for small areas in our relationship that was fun. My daughter is extremely cute and fun to dress up (and she enjoys this too). So I looked for dress up clothes (Cinderella, Tinkerbell, ballerina) and we dressed her up, fixed her hair and let her model and do a photo shoot. She loved the attention and it was fun to do something enjoyable together. Plus she had very few childhood pictures and now she has a bunch! But this would work with anything your child enjoyed, throwing a baseball, hiking, etc. Find one area that is working and purposefully go there more often.

    I'm glad to find your new blog Brenda. I have missed reading your blog. I am glad that you are doing well. -Life's Mom

  2. Life's Mom,

    Thank you for following me over. I have missed you all too and have wondered often how you all have been. I love what you shared. Thanks so much. Wise words!

  3. First, I agree with Life's Mom - whatever the issue is, let the child "own" the issue. I don't punish, but rely on consequences. Sometimes it's just a spin on the same thing but grounding, lecturing, yelling certainly - don't happen. I don't really take things away either or assign chores. But I might tell her that she has told me through - specific actions - that it's not safe for her to go somewhere, or do something and I love her too much to put her in harms way.

    My addition to that is... to be the rock that the can lean on during the storm. The storm being her world and her behaviors and the resulting consequences.
    This is done by:
    - never ever ever engage in a battle. I address the emotion first, and then once she has calmed down, deal with the issue.
    - by not yelling - which is showing them that you can't handle it.
    - don't use judgemental or value type phrases like "You have to earn that" or "You are being good today." It sends a message that your opinion of them changes and they can't rely on you because you will eventually get rid of them because they "know" they are ultimately bad.
    - Be honest with them. This means, fulfill committments. If you say you will pick them up at 3:00, be there are 3:00. Excuses don't fly. It's a test of your trustworthiness. When I don't know if I can stick to a plan, I don't make the committment and just surprise her. That way if something comes up, I didn't fail her - which is how it would be perceived.
    - Consistency. Consistency in the message, the routine, their environment.

    There are other ways but I think the big message is to be the thing thatis reliable in all the chaos.

  4. I lovve what you said about being the one thing that is reliable in the chaos.


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