"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Could I Please Just Have a Manual of the Brain? Please?

Here are the symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder:
(I starred the ones Princess exhibits)
  • * unable to give or receive love
  • * oppositional, argumentative, defiant
  • * emotionally phony, hollow, or empty
  • * manipulative and controlling
  • * frequent or intense angry outbursts
  • angry child inside
  • * unable to cry about something sad
  • * avoids or resists physical closeness or touch
  • cannot be trusted
  • has little or no conscience
  • superficially charming
  • * lack of eye contact on parental terms
  • * not affectionate on parents' terms
  • * destructive to self, others, and property
  • * more disobedient toward mom than dad
  • cruel to animals
  • steals
  • * lies about the obvious (crazy lying)
  • * impulsive or hyperactive
  • * lacks cause and effect thinking
  • * gorges and hordes food
  • * poor peer relationships
  • preoccupation with fire, blood, or violence
  • * persistent nonsense questions or incessant chatter
  • inappropriate demanding or clinging
  • sexual acting out
  • * bossy with peers
See all those stars? And here are the symptoms for ADD, inattentive/impulsive type:
(again with the stars)

  • * doesn't pay attention to detail or makes careless mistakes
  • * has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • * appears not to listen when spoken to
  • * has difficulty remembering things and following directions
  • * has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • * frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
  • * blurts out answers without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
  • * has difficulty waiting for her turn
  • * often interrupts others
  • * intrudes on other peoples' conversations or games
  • * inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums

Then, did you see I colored them? The coordinating lovely colors are cross-over symptoms where I see both in one behavior. The homework scene, for instance. The accursed homework. Can she not read the word "study" today because she is being oppositional, defiant, and manipulative, and more disobedient to mom than dad (RAD), or because she's not paying attention to detail, having trouble staying focused, and having difficulty remembering things (ADD)? When she starts throwing the dining room chairs because I am reading the reader to her so I "won't let her read to me WAAAAAAAH," is it because she's oppositional, controlling, prone to angry outburts, destructive to property, and lacking cause and effect thinking (RAD), or is it because she has an inability to keep powerful emotions in check (ADD)?

Because here's the thing: I would handle the situation based on the motive behind it, and the way I would handle it for RAD is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the way I would handle it for ADD. For RAD, I'd assume she was trying to appear powerful because she feels she is the only one she can trust to keep her safe. RAD says, "I will die if I let you be in charge of anything." But with ADD, I'd assume that she wants to please me but can't because she lacks the executive functioning to organize her brain.

So what the heck do I do when she won't read the word "study" when I'm the only parent home, but when Josh insists she read me her reader because we all know full well she can read for everyone else, she stomps off to get it grumbling, "I KNOW what the word is... it's 'STUDY." What? Seriously, tell me, because I do not know.

New plan. We'll see what happens. All I can do, it seems, is stab at radically (no pun intended) different set-ups and reactions and see how they work. I trashed the reward system. Literally. There's only a few weeks left of school anyway, so I'm going to try scheduling homework time from 4:45 to 5:15 (instead of the previous 45 minutes) and sit Princess at the dining room table (with me close at hand) with a stack of books, a notebook, and her homework. I plan to tell her tomorrow that she can do her homework or not- it's her choice whether she gets the points at school for turning it in. She can sit in her chair being somehow productive or not- I'll sit with her if she's not strong enough to sit by herself. She can have a tantrum or not-she can pay it back with quiet or by doing my work later. It is silly for me to care more about her homework than she; if she cares- fine, she can do it. If she doesn't- that's fine, too. I am sick and tired of it being a battle ground no matter how hard I try.


  1. That's a very Love & Logic response! Good for you. We had to use that approach to homework when my step-daughter lived with us (5th grade). It's so hard to let go when you know they are capable. But you're very right, you can't care more about it than they do. As Love & Logic says, "never work harder at it than your kids".

  2. I did the same sort of list with Bipolar and RAD, lol. Great way to spend your afternoon huh?

    I do the "just sit there" with Genea for her homework. I don't care if she does it or not, it's not my homework (and she is only in the first grade). She does however, have to sit there with her homework in front of her until I decide her time is up. If she is pleasant I will join her and help as needed, if not, too bad.

    Genea also responds really well to the reverse psychology sort of approach. If she refuses to do her homework, I might take it away and tell her she is not allowed to do her homework that day. Nope, no homework for you. Nothing educational either. Just sit at the table until I decide you would have been done.

    Good luck! Taking the power out of a power struggle has always worked wonders around here!