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  #1  
Old 09-14-2010, 03:10 PM
Alaskana Alaskana is offline
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RAD Daughter and Food

We have a 7 y/o daughter who has been with us for over two years. We came to the conclusion recently, after a series of inappropriate behaviors, that while her behavior has improved on the outside, we still haven't really bonded and her inner behaviors (lying, stealing, etc) haven't changed. So we removed all of her privileges ala Nancy Thomas and are making her start from scratch.

I suppose it was to be expected that her behavior has gotten worse - way worse. The lying has escalated, as has the food stealing, and now we've added peeing to our list.

My issue is this: the only thing that really and truly seems to motivate her is food. She has a pretty extreme food fixation (she was 20 pounds overweight at 5, when we first got her), but I know that many "experts" say that we should continue to give her treats and sweets and not withhold any food. On top of that, all of her associations with her "old mom" are about food. While I know I need to find some bonding, I resist doing it over food. For some reason that sounds so unhealthy to me, and makes me feel like I'd be "buying" her love with food just like her old mom did.

Is there anyone who can help me with this? Am I just wrong?
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2010, 04:02 PM
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lucyjoy lucyjoy is offline
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Food is about surviving to a lot of kids. I don't consider taking food stealing.

I don't know that feeding her sweets is necessary on a regular basis, but if you do not want her sneaking and eating them, don't have them in the house. The sugary sweets coming from moms hands during holding is suppose to stimulate some brain functions/chemicals(hey, science isn't my subject)that normally would have occurred during breast feeding. I'm not sure I buy that theory and for a child with a weight issue, I rather agree that bonding over food might not be the best method.

You need to find ways to create a safe place for her to let down her guard-to look at you, to touch your face, to let you touch her without her feeling scared. Painting each others faces, singing and dancing, doing chores together, reading her a book in your lap like you would have when she were little. Rocking, having your nails done, doing a mom and kid date to eat out(pick a healthy place. If your inclined, sports. Run together, walk together-something where you can talk.

I find that there are really good things in various attachment books and therapies but I also think that all families are different and it makes it necessary to modify things so they work for everyone.

The best advice I got was toss out the tv, keep the child with you as much as possible, And look at their faces often(that's where you see their fear, their sadness and their need.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2010, 05:43 AM
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I was also resistant to the idea of using food, particularly sweets, as a bonding mechanism with my daughter. Not because of her weight, but mine. However, I also found that no matter how hard I tried to keep sweets (and the risk of developing an uncontrolable sweet tooth) away from her, the rest of the world was bound and determined to undermine my efforts. They gave her candy at church. The gave her candy at school (in preschool there was a candy-filled event at least once a month + the rewards for good behavior). Even employees at some of the restaurants we went to would give her candy. It was a losing battle -- and if I was the one denying her the sweets then I wasn't going to be someone she wanted to bond with. Or so it seemed.

Eventually our therapist even recommended using candy to help our bonding process. I don't think it helped at all though. Certainly not as much as taking my daughter to get some frozen yogurt and hanging out together in the shop while we eat. Frozen yogurt being my preference because it's low in fat and calories compared to most anything else that's equally satisfying.

Lorie
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2010, 06:16 PM
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txwannabemom txwannabemom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskana
I suppose it was to be expected that her behavior has gotten worse - way worse. The lying has escalated, as has the food stealing, and now we've added peeing to our list.

My issue is this: the only thing that really and truly seems to motivate her is food. She has a pretty extreme food fixation (she was 20 pounds overweight at 5, when we first got her), but I know that many "experts" say that we should continue to give her treats and sweets and not withhold any food. On top of that, all of her associations with her "old mom" are about food. While I know I need to find some bonding, I resist doing it over food. For some reason that sounds so unhealthy to me, and makes me feel like I'd be "buying" her love with food just like her old mom did.

Is there anyone who can help me with this? Am I just wrong?

I'm gonna go at this from a differnt approach than the previous posters.

Rather than think of it of buying her afftections with food I did it this way:

1. Her regular (3 a day ) meals are very healthy. Super.

2. Sweets & treats should ONLY come from you. Yes this makes you seem like a big meanie. I managed this by having the school call me and tell me when a treat was being given and I would come and be with her. Part of the premise is that breast milk is one of the sweetest milks on earth- part of the reason babies like it..it cause its yummy.

3. She only ate quality sweets- not junky candly. So for example I fed her M& Ms one at a time mantaining eye contact to get the M& M. I rocked her while she chewed a caramel (which mimicks the oral calming motion a baby makes while feeding from Mama). I fed her spoonfools of icecream and put whip cream on her nose- creating a playful atmosphere and creating a internal association that liked ME to Good feelings.

I never use food as a reward or punishment.
I never deny her food, I DELAY her food- Yes you can have the granola bar after dinner. Yes we can get frech fries on Sat. telling my dd no about fod sends her over the edge. She quickly flips to fear of hunger.

Can you use time in the kitchen teaching her to cook as abonding time? my dd has eaten sweets 4-5 times a week since she came home in small amounts that focus on bonding.

Did she also come on medicines? My dd was overweight too, but it was mostly the psycotropic meds causing it. I balanced the sweets by offering her lots of raw fresh veggies, and lots of out door play time. We also got rid of the TV.

For us using the sweets as a bonding tool has been beneficial.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2010, 06:31 PM
myForeverkids3 myForeverkids3 is offline
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Well, a lot of fruits are very sweet. Some strawberries with a little sugar sprinkled on them, bananas, drizzling things with a little chocolate syrup. Not much but just a little. This may even teach her how to enjoy food in a healthy way. Small portions and really take the time to enjoy it. Like, Let's see how slowly we can eat our strawberries! Maybe go for a walk after and reinforce the idea of calories taken in must be burnt off. Wish I could learn that one!

My other thought is that she is more likely to grow up using food to feed her emotions if she never developes a healthy relationship with you. If she can learn to trust you and confide in you, you may just replace sugar!!
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2010, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myForeverkids3
My other thought is that she is more likely to grow up using food to feed her emotions if she never developes a healthy relationship with you. If she can learn to trust you and confide in you, you may just replace sugar!!

What a concept! I always joked that my mother was to blame for my weight problem because she's the one who started feeding me in the first place, but there were so many things going on when I was growing up that I most likely did learn to soothe my emotions with chocolate rather than being able to go to my mom. Hmm.... my daughter doesn't seem to have an attachment of that sort to food but I can certainly see where she's developing unhealthy attachments to others that may be filling that same void.
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single mom of a Siberian-born princess diagnosed with RAD & ADHD; born:10/2003; adopted: 4/2006
I was recently introduced to "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post. It's a totally different approach to parenting hurting kids than the control and consequences model written about by Nancy Thomas. The BCLC model makes a lot of sense (and even works on spouses). I don't receive any kickbacks for this shameless promotion.
Check out my blog: Christian Singles Adopt -- lots of information for singles who want to adopt and parents dealing with attachment-challenged kids. Currently posting a series based on information learned during the BCLC parenting class.
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2011, 10:25 AM
happilyeverrc happilyeverrc is offline
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My 7 y/o son is the same. We've read the Nancy Thomas book, and it's hard to stick to it when one child is the detached RAD and his 6 y/o sister is the clingy/charmer RAD. We take it one thing at a time. He is on his second round of pull-ups for soiling #1 and #2 on himself on purpose. He takes food at night when he should be sleeping, takes our cell phones and Ipods to play games on, even going through my purse to get them!
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:10 PM
myForeverkids3 myForeverkids3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happilyeverrc
My 7 y/o son is the same. We've read the Nancy Thomas book, and it's hard to stick to it when one child is the detached RAD and his 6 y/o sister is the clingy/charmer RAD. We take it one thing at a time. He is on his second round of pull-ups for soiling #1 and #2 on himself on purpose. He takes food at night when he should be sleeping, takes our cell phones and Ipods to play games on, even going through my purse to get them!

The food is a very hard one. I am guessing it has become habit for him. Makes sense if he is detached. He is using food and video games to ease his anxiety and fear at night instead of calling for mommy that he can't sleep like most kids would do.

We have found that nothing but time will fix the potty issues. Trust me I have cleaned up my share of urine in strange places!! But, when it happens, I just gently remind all my kids that poop and pee go only in the potty. If I can pinpoint who did it, they do the clean up. It has gotten better with time. I think shaming and punishing just makes it worse.

Someone said something to me about the stealing issue and not letting my son know that it bothers me. If your child is using it on themself because they want to get you all in a tizzy, and they know that pooping on themselves gets you all in a tizzy...then poop it is!
Count to ten, put on your poker face and assist them in the cleanup!
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2011, 04:15 AM
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CovenantCreek CovenantCreek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happilyeverrc
My 7 y/o son is the same. We've read the Nancy Thomas book, and it's hard to stick to it when one child is the detached RAD and his 6 y/o sister is the clingy/charmer RAD. We take it one thing at a time. He is on his second round of pull-ups for soiling #1 and #2 on himself on purpose. He takes food at night when he should be sleeping, takes our cell phones and Ipods to play games on, even going through my purse to get them!

My first therapist had recommended that I use Nancy Thomas' book as a guide for raising my daughter. I wasn't able to do very well with it. In the beginning the consequences were novel and my daughter would go along with them, but when she got tired of them I had limited options for enforcing them. I had no respite care provider or support team. Add to that the fact that my daughter, like most RAD kids, had virtually no concept of cause and effect so she really didn't understand the "if you do x then you will have y consequence" lesson so it did nothing to reduce future bad behavior.

Then we tried putting poker chips in a vase -- green for good behavior, red for bad -- and letting her pull a chip out whenever she wanted something. If it was green the answer was yes, if red then it would be no. She couldn't "blame" me if she didn't like the result. Eventually that got hard to keep up with.

Our new therapist then broke the news that Nancy Thomas' book wasn't the best available, that her method relies too heavily on consequences and control. More recent research has shown that kids with attachment issues are living in a state of fear and stress beyond anything we can imagine and need help to learn how to regulate their response to stress. He recommended that I read "Parenting with Love and Logic," which I haven't started yet, and "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control," which I'm reading now, as well as taking an online parenting class taught by the author. It's a very different way of thinking, but it has taken the pressure off me to always be in control of everything, which makes it a lot easier to remain calm and actually in control.
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single mom of a Siberian-born princess diagnosed with RAD & ADHD; born:10/2003; adopted: 4/2006
I was recently introduced to "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post. It's a totally different approach to parenting hurting kids than the control and consequences model written about by Nancy Thomas. The BCLC model makes a lot of sense (and even works on spouses). I don't receive any kickbacks for this shameless promotion.
Check out my blog: Christian Singles Adopt -- lots of information for singles who want to adopt and parents dealing with attachment-challenged kids. Currently posting a series based on information learned during the BCLC parenting class.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:00 PM
happilyeverrc happilyeverrc is offline
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Thanks everyone for the comments on 7 yo. He also has no cause/effect realizations. when you ask him specifics about a bad behavior he shuts down and will stare at you and you cant get him to say anything.there is no reasoning with that. he is on adhd meds as well as antidepressant, but stil cannot seem to relax. he is always tense. have you seen this in your kiddos?
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:18 PM
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I love Nancy Thomas but her books do not betray the deep love and nurtering aspect well. If you ever saw her in person, or watched her dvd's you'd see the whole picture. Sadly, people tend to use her methods rigidly(easy to do) with too much structure and not enough nurture.

As for the freezing on bad behavior-that's a trauma reaction. His fear won't allow him to answer the questions as he fear abuse if he says the wrong thing. It's a brain freeze and can last for years-regardless of how loving your response is.

I've seen the always on guard, tenseness. Is he getting therapy for his trauma? This is a trauma behavior as well.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happilyeverrc
Thanks everyone for the comments on 7 yo. He also has no cause/effect realizations. when you ask him specifics about a bad behavior he shuts down and will stare at you and you cant get him to say anything.there is no reasoning with that. he is on adhd meds as well as antidepressant, but stil cannot seem to relax. he is always tense. have you seen this in your kiddos?
Freezing is one of the responses to fear -- we're all familiar with fight or flight, but recent research has added freeze to the options. In those instances, your son is feeling a level of stress that is outside his window of tolerance. When he freezes, rather than trying to get anything from him, realize that his brain is reacting to a perceived life or death threat (think about a deer caught in the headlights, unable to run from the approaching car) and lovingly remind him that he is safe with you and nothing bad is going to happen to him. You can deal with whatever caused the problem later, when he's feeling less stressed and his cognitive faculties are working.

When faced with significant stress his conscious mind is overruled by lower parts of his brain; his short-term memory is short circuited; anything he says or does is intended to get him out of the threatening situation and back to a mental state where he feels comfortable enough to relax, though a dysregulated child is always in a state of alertness, unable to truly relax. It's doubtful that any medication you would actually want to give to a 7 yr old would be able to cause the lower parts of his brain to relinquish their defensive survival strategy. He's a mouse living in room full of cats looking for a hole in the wall to hide in. If you can read about the Stress Model presented in "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" I think you'll find a lot of answers. There's also a web site that supports the book, Heather T. Forbes, LCSW.
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single mom of a Siberian-born princess diagnosed with RAD & ADHD; born:10/2003; adopted: 4/2006
I was recently introduced to "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post. It's a totally different approach to parenting hurting kids than the control and consequences model written about by Nancy Thomas. The BCLC model makes a lot of sense (and even works on spouses). I don't receive any kickbacks for this shameless promotion.
Check out my blog: Christian Singles Adopt -- lots of information for singles who want to adopt and parents dealing with attachment-challenged kids. Currently posting a series based on information learned during the BCLC parenting class.
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