What It’s Like to Parent a Child With Reactive Attachment Disorder

Dressed in a black suit and purple shirt and tie, my son looks adorable on the last day of the school year for his elementary school graduation.

He didn’t walk in and out with his class since we couldn’t trust his behavior. My husband and I sat in the front row and he sat with us, then walked up, got his diploma and sat back down.

We went outside, grabbed a cookie and walked home. We were there maybe 45 minutes total.

Then he came home and raged for 2 hours.


Out of Options

The police have been to the house multiple times, and he’s always calmed by the time he hears them pull up. (He’s smart that way.)

The police have been giving us a hard time. They were nice at first but now it’s a “family issue we need to deal with.” They don’t get the amount of danger in which this child places our family.

We have taken our child to walk-in mental health crisis centers, to the Emergency Room, and once an ambulance took him there.

He has spent time inpatient in the hospital for mental health treatment.

My husband and I have been hit, kicked, bitten, spit on, and dodged objects thrown at us.

I go into my son’s room to get him up. “Good morning, sweetie. Time to rise and shine!” He looks at me out of the corner of one eye. “F— you, mom.”

Our therapist says to call the police.

One of the police officers suggested holding or restraining him, but this is a tricky issue. Our child will keep going for 30-60 minutes of twisting and attempting to bite and hit us, until we are all sweating and exhausted. It takes 2-3 people to restrain correctly and even then it’s dangerous both physically and emotionally. What about when I’m home with him alone?

We have decided restraint is not right for us.

We’ve tried holding the door to his room closed while he is raging (you cannot lock a child in a room) and he kicked the door off the hinges.

What options are left?

Parenting With RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a brain disorder that is caused when a child is not nurtured in the first few months of his/her life.

Our therapist put in a referral for our son to attend day treatment. He would be part of a program where he would receive therapy every day and careful supervision.

Sara Borgstede
Sara Borgstede
Sara Borgstede is a 100 lb weight loss success story, real wife, and super real mom. She is a triathlete, motivational speaker, and writer. A mom to 5 kids through birth and special needs adoption, Sara and her husband Mike were foster parents to 35 children. She blogs at www.saraborgstede.com and runs an online faith and fitness program at www.faithfulfinishlines.com. She lives in Aurora, CO with her husband, children, and three cats who eat potato chips.

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