If you like watching home improvement shows, you may have come across the show Holmes on Homes. It is one of my favorite home improvement shows to watch. It is a show based on a contractor who goes in and fixes mistakes that other contractors made and most of the time are fairly significant issues. To the naked eye you cannot tell that something is wrong, everything looks great cosmetically but as time goes on little things start to pop up that make the home owner concerned that the work was not done correctly, or they spring a leak or have no heat whatever the case may be, but on the surface all looks fantastic.
Holmes comes in and rips down the walls and finds often , short cuts taken, shotty work, and sometimes serious defects in the structure of the home due to neglect by the prior contractor.
When parenting a RAD child it is a lot like being Holmes from the show I just described. On the outside our kid’s seem all put together and capable and functional and nothing seems wrong. It is when we start to rip down the layers that we start to find the underlying damage caused by inexperienced and sometimes abusive caregivers. The work to repair the damage is extensive and will take time.
Parenting a RAD child and helping them to heal is not a weekend do-it-yourself job. It takes time and effort and experience and commitment to the task at hand. Helping to tear out all the old messy work that was done and re-build with a strong foundation in trust, love and safety is so important for these kids. This is a job that will takes years and sometime’s a lifetime to finish and you still may be finding work to do daily even when you think you are done.
I learned watching this show that repair work is much harder than just starting new. Actually it is really hard ,and sometimes you have to just work with what is already there and make due the best you can. A new stronger beam may need to be butted up against the old one instead of taking the old one out because the old one is holding up the foundation and can’t be removed. You can make things better and structurally sounder but the old beam will always be there.
I think that is a lot like our kids. We can come along side of them and help to build new trusts, and boundries, safety and hopes and dreams but the old memories and hurts will always be there along side the new and we have to allow them to process through that and let the new beam take the weight of their burden as the old beam crumbles away.
My “R” has so many levels and they run so deep that there are days I am still finding new fears and history out after 2 years. Her outbursts and rage toward me are a reflection of her still being under construction. I have committed to therapeutic parenting her to the best of my ability. I have not been great at this in the past year and I am working to repair that. So I put together a tool belt with all the things I will need daily to help me to be the best contractor to help repair my “R” and help her to have a successful life.
My RAD Toolbelt
A measuring tape of PatienceA can of Empathy
A Roll of Playfulness
A bottle of Love
Quiet in control voice
Each morning I am working on strapping on my toolbelt so that I can face the day head on and help my "R" to be fully restored. I look forward to seeing the finished product some day.