Parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder comes with numerous challenges. Each RAD child is different. I should know—I have three and they are each unique in how their RAD behaviors manifest themselves. Trying to keep up with the demands of life and still find time to nurture yourself can feel like jumping over ten-foot-high hurdles on a track.   I hate hurdles. 

Parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder comes with numerous challenges. Each RAD child is different. I should know—I have three and they are each unique in how their RAD behaviors manifest themselves. Trying to keep up with the demands of life and still find time to nurture yourself can feel like jumping over ten-foot-high hurdles on a track. 

I hate hurdles. 

 As parents and caregivers we live for our kids. We sacrifice time, energy, money, and sleep so they can have what they need. We are wrapped up in their needs. Forget about things like showering first thing in the morning, putting on make-up, curling your hair. And exercise? What’s that? So, taking care of more complicated things like going to the doctor, going out to lunch with friends, and going out on a date with your significant other, it’s probably not happening.  At the same time, however, I’ve discovered if I don’t take some time to nurture myself then my own mood disintegrates and I’m less capable of being the patient and loving mom my kids need me to be.   How each person nurtures themselves is going to look different, but might I suggest three areas where you can nurture yourself when you have a child with reactive attachment disorder:  Body  Mind  Spirit

As parents and caregivers we live for our kids. We sacrifice time, energy, money, and sleep so they can have what they need. We are wrapped up in their needs. Forget about things like showering first thing in the morning, putting on make-up, curling your hair. And exercise? What’s that? So, taking care of more complicated things like going to the doctor, going out to lunch with friends, and going out on a date with your significant other, it’s probably not happening.

At the same time, however, I’ve discovered if I don’t take some time to nurture myself then my own mood disintegrates and I’m less capable of being the patient and loving mom my kids need me to be. 

How each person nurtures themselves is going to look different, but might I suggest three areas where you can nurture yourself when you have a child with reactive attachment disorder:

Body

Mind

Spirit

  BODY   We’re told that we should take care of our RAD kids with a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep and exercise. The same goes for us.  Now I’m going to be honest here, I don’t get plenty of sleep because I have insomnia, but my hypoglycemia forces me get a good start on my day with a good breakfast. As far as the exercise goes, time really can be a factor. But simple exercise such as yoga that only takes a few minutes can do our body wonders and help decrease the stress that some of the more difficult behaviors which accompany RAD can cause.  Just choosing a few yoga poses, for example, to help to stretch tight muscles and the deep breathing associated with allows you to tune in to areas where you are holding your stress. If you have a home treadmill you can walk on it for a few minutes to get some of those natural endorphins flowing in your system and help you feel happier.

BODY

We’re told that we should take care of our RAD kids with a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep and exercise. The same goes for us.

Now I’m going to be honest here, I don’t get plenty of sleep because I have insomnia, but my hypoglycemia forces me get a good start on my day with a good breakfast. As far as the exercise goes, time really can be a factor. But simple exercise such as yoga that only takes a few minutes can do our body wonders and help decrease the stress that some of the more difficult behaviors which accompany RAD can cause.

Just choosing a few yoga poses, for example, to help to stretch tight muscles and the deep breathing associated with allows you to tune in to areas where you are holding your stress. If you have a home treadmill you can walk on it for a few minutes to get some of those natural endorphins flowing in your system and help you feel happier.

  MIND   For me nurturing my mind means filling it with things that make it happy like reading fantasy books, watching my favorite show, going to a writing conference or watching a youtube video and learning more about writing.  It also means emptying my mind of what is toxic—journaling out the negative things that happened in the day. 

MIND

For me nurturing my mind means filling it with things that make it happy like reading fantasy books, watching my favorite show, going to a writing conference or watching a youtube video and learning more about writing.

It also means emptying my mind of what is toxic—journaling out the negative things that happened in the day. 

  SPIRIT   In order to start the day and be at my best I want to feel at my best with the right perspective. How we feel and what thoughts we have influence our behavior. I fully admit I’m not a morning person and because of this I’m made a change in my morning routine in order to change my perspective and give my kids a fighting chance at having a more patient mom in the morning. Before I even step one foot out of bed I pray and ask God for help. I need lots of it.  Now you may not be a religious person and that’s okay. You don’t have to pray or believe in God to nurture your spirit. By spirit I’m talking about the non-physical part of you that’s the seat of your emotions and character. How do we nurture that?  Parents of RAD kids, especially their mothers can end up with  secondary trauma , or PTSD as a result of caring for their children. Some of the behaviors can be so difficult and so extreme that these parents feel alone when they seek help and understanding and don’t get it.   Nurturing our spirit might mean getting help if we are already experiencing PTSD. It could mean making an appointment with a therapist, talking regularly to a trusted friend or family member or joining a support group of parents who also have RAD children. It could mean doing a brief meditation each day or a few times a week to clear your mind.   If you don’t have big chunks of time to yourself, then try and carve out little pockets of time to nurture yourself with the things you love and the things you need in order to keep going in body, mind, and spirit, and keep surviving this journey with your child.  You can do this!

SPIRIT

In order to start the day and be at my best I want to feel at my best with the right perspective. How we feel and what thoughts we have influence our behavior. I fully admit I’m not a morning person and because of this I’m made a change in my morning routine in order to change my perspective and give my kids a fighting chance at having a more patient mom in the morning. Before I even step one foot out of bed I pray and ask God for help. I need lots of it.

Now you may not be a religious person and that’s okay. You don’t have to pray or believe in God to nurture your spirit. By spirit I’m talking about the non-physical part of you that’s the seat of your emotions and character. How do we nurture that?

Parents of RAD kids, especially their mothers can end up with secondary trauma, or PTSD as a result of caring for their children. Some of the behaviors can be so difficult and so extreme that these parents feel alone when they seek help and understanding and don’t get it. 

Nurturing our spirit might mean getting help if we are already experiencing PTSD. It could mean making an appointment with a therapist, talking regularly to a trusted friend or family member or joining a support group of parents who also have RAD children. It could mean doing a brief meditation each day or a few times a week to clear your mind. 

If you don’t have big chunks of time to yourself, then try and carve out little pockets of time to nurture yourself with the things you love and the things you need in order to keep going in body, mind, and spirit, and keep surviving this journey with your child.

You can do this!

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