Lo­cal sup­port group helps par­ents of RAD chil­dren

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Gor­don Niel­son

There are a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of chil­dren who live their first few years in en­vi­ron­ments that are not nur­tur­ing, en­gag­ing and car­ing. Th­ese chil­dren come from a va­ri­ety of fam­ily sit­u­a­tions. They may have ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal or emo­tional ne­glect such as from a mother who suf­fered from post-par­tum de­pres­sion, who is not skilled or per­haps not com­mit­ted to par­ent­ing, or per­haps who is in­volved in sub­stance use.

Th­ese chil­dren may have ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal or sex­ual abuse as in­fants or tod­dlers. They may just have lived in a sit­u­a­tion where they had care­giv­ing that may have been ad­e­quate but has been pro­vided by many dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­u­als and was not con­sis­tent over those early years.

Th­ese chil­dren are sub­ject to de­vel­op­ing at­tach­ment prob­lems, the most se­vere of which is Re­ac­tive At­tach­ment Dis­or­der. Th­ese chil­dren have dif­fi­culty con­nect­ing to oth­ers and man­ag­ing their own emo­tions. This re­sults in a lack of trust in them­selves and any­one else, anger and a need to be in con­trol. They of­ten feel un­safe and alone. They also of­ten dis­play nu­mer­ous ex­treme in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iors, cre­at­ing prob­lems for schools and the com­mu­nity but es­pe­cially for adop­tive, step-, foster or nat­u­ral par­ents.

Par­ents of a child with RAD en­dure ex­treme stress, of­ten feel­ing over­whelmed, lonely, an­gry, scared, guilty or mis­un­der­stood and con­fused among other emo­tions. Those feel­ings are com­pletely nor­mal.

If you would like to meet with other par­ents ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sim­i­lar is­sues with chal­leng­ing chil­dren, you can at­tend a free sup­port group which meets the sec­ond Thurs­day of ev­ery month in Springville. Call 804-1028 for more in­for­ma­tion.

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