This morning, Corazon was having a tough time doing what she needed to do--slow motion chores, bossiness to her little brother, doing the opposite of what I asked her to do, etc. I didn't say anything to her about it because I was busy getting her brothers ready for school. All of a sudden she stopped in the middle of the kitchen and screamed "Why did I have to get this RAD?!?!" I stopped what I was doing and went over to her and asked her if she was OK. She said she didn't like having RAD and wanted it to go away. So we talked about the work it is going to take for us to get rid of it but I reminded her she has made much progress. It is only recently that we have been able to talk about her having RAD.
Corazon is a very bright little girl and she intellectually understands a great deal. We have talked openly with her about her birth family and why her mother cannot care for her. We have talked about the challenges her older brother and sister continue to encounter and the negative choices they have made that continue to complicate their lives. We have discussed the reasons she lived in so many different homes before coming to us.we have discussed some of her problem behaviors and tried to explain what might be behind them. She understood much of this but the problem we have always had we her is that she is so smart that she learned how to "feed" us whatever she thought we wanted to hear. So it became pretty challenging for us to give her an explanation without hearing her "use" it to get herself out of trouble. Anyway, over the past few months or so I have more actively tried to call attention to behaviors she no longer exhibits and suggested that she is getting "better" and is making progress. More recently, on the advice of a fellow RAD mom, I decided to explain the attachment cycle for normal infant and toddler development and what happens when that process doesn't happen. We sat and discussed it and she really got interested in it. Over the next several days I saw her trying to apply her new knowledge to behaviors she saw in her little sister especially with regard to needs and wants and trust. So I took the next step and had her look over an abbreviated list of causes of RAD and behaviors kids with RAD exhibit. She quickly identified most of the behaviors she used to have and the ones that she no longer has and the ones she still has. Except for not remembering a couple of her long-gone behaviors she was really on target in identifying those behaviors.
So over the past couple of days we have been having some interesting moments. Two days ago, after a good deal of controlling behavior on her part, she got very frustrated and came over to me in tears and said "Mom, I don't WANT to be in control. I want you to be in control. Why can't I let you do that?" We talked about it a bit and she was able to catch herself and STOP some of her controlling behaviors. Then she read a number of entries from J.'s blog from the beginning and she was very excited to call attention to things she used to do like J. and things she still did and even things she never did before (hopefully she didn't get any new ideas.....). She seemed very happy to know that besides her and her older brother (she decided he was RAD too) there were other kids like her. Since then she has asked some good questions and when she starts to act out I have been able to ask her "Which do you want to be right now, RAD kid or normal kid?" She will pout and say, "normal kid!" and change up whatever she is doing. It has been great to see and I can see her working hard to change. When I see something that is difficult for her to keep in check, like an opportunity to be bossy, I have been able to ask her ahead of time "what would a RAD kid do right now?" and she can tell me AND she stops herself. I am not sure how long this will work but right now she seems to be trying to work with it and she is doing great. I am so proud of her.