Taking Three RAD Kids on a Two-Week Vacation

August 5th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

swim gogglesMy girlfriend said to me, "Two weeks?! I've never gone on a two-week vacation with my kids. I can hardly handle the stress of even packing a bag for a weekend!" Hmm, maybe should have thought of that. This is the "dream" vacation that is sure to be fraught with reality, AKA normal kid behavior plus that special dose of reality called RAD. It's like a cross between a crossword puzzle and Pandora's box: will they or won't they be able to handle the positive experiences of Disneyland, Sea World, and Universal Studios, not to mention asssorted baseball games, beach excursions, and--if Mom gets her way--the J. Paul Getty museum. We've been a forever family for nine years now, and my oldest… [more]

I’ll See You One and Raise You Twenty

July 3rd, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

5th grade field tripSomeone once told me--someone who raised two biological and two adopted RAD kids--that each RAD kid was equal to twenty biological kids, give or take. This mother was past the actual child-rearing so she could afford to smile sweetly as she said this. True her RAD son was on drugsand she couldn't have a relationship with him, and her RAD daughter wasn't sure if she was a man or woman and there were some communication issues there. But still. She had her Friday nights to read a book or take a bath or just enjoy the peace and quiet. Which brings me to summer vacation. If I've done the math correctly, my three home-for-the-summer RAD kids equal something like sixty typical… [more]

Did Ted Bundy Have RAD?

June 23rd, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

ted bundyIt's a long story, but I just finished reading a book about Ted Bundy. The book I read, The Stranger Beside Me, was written by Ann Rule, a former Seattle cop-turned-writer who just happened to work with Ted Bundy on a suicide hotline in the early 1970s. Ms. Rule had already started researching and writing a book about the serial killings that started in Washington in 1974 before she discovered that the subject of her book was none other than Ted himself, a young man she thought of as a younger brother and "confidant." She remained his friend for the rest of his life, until he was executed by the state of Florida in 1989. She wrote the book, she says, not… [more]

I Think He Finally Sees His Future

June 18th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

Gavin's guitarMy seventeen-year-old son eked out passing grades and has finished his junior year of high school. Yesterday he started a summer-session welding program at the local applied technology college. He's actually excited, dare I say happy? They told him at orientation that he can make $62,000 a year starting out with a certificate in welding. Face shining, he told us the good news then added, "See? I told you I would have a Lamborghini!" Ah youth. Wait until he gets his first electric bill. But I digress. His first love is woodworking. He made the guitar pictured in the photo above during Wood Shop last semester. I asked him to take Auto Mechanics last year and to try welding to see if… [more]

How Do You Help a Desperate Girl?

June 11th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

pinocchioMy heart is breaking for my daughter tonight, and at the same time, I'm just sick over her behavior toward yet another girl that could have been a friend but for Kaylyn's actions. The latest incident started when a nice girl at school let Kaylyn borrow a cool pair of tennis shoes for an activity on the last day of school. So far so good. The problem started when the girl left school early that day, and Kaylyn in her infinite wisdom decided to leave the shoes outside the girl's locker. Not bring them home and return them later. Leave them out in the open among hordes of kids on the last day of school. I'm sure you can guess where this… [more]

Mystery Solved – So That’s Why She Has No Friends

June 4th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

bouquetI found a note in my daughter's jeans the other day while I was doing laundry. It was from a girl at school and basically called Kaylyn out for being a fake friend, accused her of not really caring and only talking to the note's author because she didn't have anyone else to talk to. Put together with Kaylyn ditching her ride at the dance to go hang with the "cool" girls, the light came on for me. Apparently, like all of us, Kaylyn prefers fun, interesting, happy, dare I say cool people. Unlike most of us, however, she hasn't yet realized that sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you get stuck at the boring people table. Suddenly it all made sense, the… [more]

Oh, the Pain of No Friends

May 26th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

no friendsMy darling, sweet, totally socially clueless fifteen-year-old daughter can't make (or keep) a friend to save her life. The more desperately she chases after friends, the faster they run. Just this week I got a call from a mother whose sixteen-year-old daughter (with her own schizo-affective sister and therefore a tender heart toward the friendless) had tried to reach out to my daughter. A little background: sixteen-year-old Tender Heart had witnessed an awkward situation between my daughter and two other girls (one of whom has bullied my daughter in the past). The cool girls were talking about going to a dance, and my darling, sweet, totally socially clueless daughter said, "Oh, fun, I want to come with you." The cool girls back-pedaled… [more]

The Ups and Downs of Independence

May 20th, 2013

algebraSo I gave my seventeen-year-old son the driver's wheel on his high school education. Not because I wanted to, but because what I was doing wasn't working. Supervising him closely and catching all his missing assignments for him to complete just caused him to lie to me and let me be his safety net. With the counselor's agreement, I took my hands off the wheel, and he is succeeding or failing on his own. Initially he became uber-responsible, skipping lunch at Arby's with his friends so that he could go to the library and catch up on work. He came home a week ago saying he no longer had an F in History. I asked him how he managed that. He said he… [more]

When Talking to Friends Doesn’t Help

May 12th, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

friendsParents of Reactive Attachment Disorder kids are caught in a bind. On the one hand, few of us just happen to have within our circle of intimates close friends who are also parenting RAD kids. On the other hand, we need a lot of support from our friends exactly because we are parenting in such a challenging situation. What do we do? I talk to the counselor weekly, but when I'm out with the girls, and we're talking about our lives, if I'm going to participate, I have to talk about what's really going on with me. When I do, I run up against frames of reference that may have almost no overlap with mine. Case in point. I went to dinner with… [more]

When Giving Up Works

May 6th, 2013

high school diplomaWe reached the end of the road with my seventeen-year-old son who will not do his school work. We've tried peanut butter sandwiches instead of yummy food until his work is turned in. We even tried charging him $50 per missing assignment out of his part-time job paycheck. He cried when he had to pay us $200 then turned around and paid us another $150 for three more missing assignments. So did he really care? I don't think so. The final strategy--and this sounds draconian, but we were trying to get his attention--was to drive him to a motel and tell him we were paying for a thirty-day stay, and when he was getting close to the end of the… [more]