Dear Parents of Children with RAD
“It’s not that [my child] doesn’t care, or doesn’t want my love– it’s just that right now, with the tools she has, she actually isn’t able to form the same kind of connection with me. I see that can change, and that is huge.”
We have accumulated a list of resources for parents of children with RAD, including:
As a part of Youth Home's TRICARE® Residential Treatment Program, parents of children with RAD are offered a multi-family group with other parents of youth in our program. This group is led by Brenda Scheffler, LCSW, who as over 25 years of psychiatric experience with youth in general as well as youth with RAD. Brenda also adopted and raised two children of her own, one of whom was diagnosed with RAD. She personally attended 8 years of therapy with him.
This is not new to us. We know about the shocking behaviors children with RAD often display. We understand the manipulation and the fear, as well as the hope you have for them. While only youth ages 12-17 are accepted into our program, there are support groups out there that can be of much benefit to parents, such as the following Facebook groups:
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Parent Support (Join)
- Christian RAD Parent Support (Reactive Attachment Disorder) (Join)
- RAD and Trauma Support Group for Foster and Adoptive Parents (Join)
Training for Foster/Adoptive Parents:
- Hope for Healing by ATTACh: Why Do Children Act Like This? ($75) - This intensive online, attachment training series for parents provides evidence-based insight for those struggling with problem behaviors. With humor, grace, and researched neuroscience, instructor, ATTACh Executive Director Mary M. McGowan, will help bring hope for healing to the children and youth in your care. You’ll learn about adult and child attachment styles, arousal levels linked to survival mechanisms in the brain, behaviors associated with attachment difficulties and developmental trauma, and strategies for attachment-focused parenting and teaching.
- RAD Overview by Pennsylvania Child Welfare Center: (free) Powerpoint
- Parenting Principles that Promote Attachment by Pennsylvania Child Welfare Center (free) Handout
Safety In The Home:
When safety in the home is a concern, it's important talk with a healthcare professional about your options. If your child is at risk of committing harm to themselves or someone else, call 911 or visit your nearest hospital. If they are not considered at risk by a healthcare professional, but you would like to provide a more safe environment for them, visit: RAD Advocates - When Home is No Longer a Safe Haven
Reactive Attachment Disorder Therapy:
Youth Home Inc. offers TRICARE® Intensive Residential Treatment for youth ages 12-17 with a primary diagnosis of RAD. We are considered experts in the industry and offer a robust program with individual, group and family therapy, an award winning Recreational Therapy program, as well as education in our on-campus Siebert School (which is approved by and meets the standards of the Arkansas Department of Education). Visit YouthHome.org to apply online.
We also offer outpatient therapy for families of children with RAD (ages 2+) at Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas in Little Rock. Click here to schedule an appointment.
While raising a child with RAD, primary caregivers often:
- Must remain calm yet vigilant about the physical and mental wellness of the whole family in the midst of incessant arguing and bouts of rage from the child
- Attempt to attach emotionally to the child but are repeatedly rejected
- Are falsely accused of abuse, neglect, etc. by the child due to the nature of the disorder (to reject attachment)
- Are blamed by and ostracised from their community, friends and family due to the confusing and deceiving nature of RAD, including false allegations
- Lack personal and professional support due to an overall lack of accurate education about RAD
- Notice negative changes within self and family outside of their control
RAD is a serious mental health disorder that inhibits a child's ability to trust primary caregivers and leads to maladaptive self-protective behaviors. Those raising children with RAD often develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you find that you are experiencing PTSD-like symptoms, seek help right away.