Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When Opportunity for Natural Consequences Occurs

There are times with our children (healthy or special needs) when we see behaviors we would like to find a way to correct, but due to obligations or circumstances instead we hear ourselves doing the "Mom Lecture" all the way to the event, activity, family gathering, or whatever it is.

Last night might have been one of those times, as Makala and I needed to go to this weeks Job's Daughter meeting. An important one this week as on our way we were going to stop at Sam's house and pick up her Petition to join, and permission slip for Grand Bethel... Makala knew we had some important obligations and there was no way her mother was going to slack off and not follow through...

Since joining age has been lowered from 12 years old to 10 years old--I can see how "sometimes" a 10 year old would feel a little overwhelmed with meetings that end with Cake and don't get over until after 9:00 P.M. What a privilege for a child of only 10!

After Makala got home from school I reminded her about our meeting and asked her to find her white tights, and slippers while I took a shower and got myself ready. When I came out the tights and slippers were still un-ound... Naturally, I had the "mom-tissy" about her needing to listen to me and first do the things I ask, so that I can move to the next thing on my list of things to do. The longer it takes her to follow my instructions--the less we can get done.

That of course led to her wanting to know "What she was missing?"

Sometimes I could just kick-myself for using implications with my words--I know she doesn't get it.!

Anyway, we moved on and went to the store to grab something easy for dinner, and then picked Marty up from reading club... Finally, when we got home I told Makala that since we were going to be out late at the Job's Daughter meeting, and it was her bath night she needed to go up and take her bath and when she was done it would be time to get ready.

I heard the bath water running.

I also heard talking in her bedroom--out the window to Marty so I yelled upstairs, "Makala where are you? Makala? Makala?" Then I heard the bathroom door open (water running in the background) and she asked, "What?" I asked if she was taking a bath and she said she was....

Another 5 minutes pass and daddy comes home, so I go to meet him at the front door--when I look upstairs--just in time to see the 100% dry fully dressed child leave her brothers room?
The bath water was still running--she was fully dressed and clearly not taking a bath...

So, I called her on it and asked what the Heck?

She didn't have a story--not one that I could understand. So, that's the moment I decided that last night's Job's Daughter meeting was NOT more Important then Natural Consequences... Not at all! I let her know that because it seemed she could not do as asked, and went to such extremes to make me think she had--that she would not be going to Job's Daughters--she fussed a bit and than said--"Okay-Okay, I will take my bath!"

I let her know that she should still take her bath but that she was Not going to Job's Daughters. But, she honestly believed my obligations for this meeting were far to big to be missed (and they were). She rushed with the appearance of compliance into the bathroom as I had asked her at least 20 minutes earlier to do... And she ***Thought*** she would come out, get dressed and go to the meeting which would end after 9:00 P.M. with Cake!

Not!

I gave daddy her medication, the instructions for dinner that was almost finished cooking--and got in my car and left before Makala got out of her bath! After all MY obligations for the meeting WERE important--however her obligations were NOT--or at least not enough that she could pull all these little stunts before going...

I went shopping at the Good Will for a bunch of fancy dresses to use at Grand Bethel--Met up with Polly and got the Petition--and permission slips then ran them over to the meeting about 15 minutes before it started. Turned it all in and then took the Long Way Home.

When I got back I just smiled and let Makala know I had taken care of My Obligations and that hopefully the next time I give her an instruction before we do something for her--that she just needs to mind my words otherwise she might miss out on something. I just don't have time for silly games.... and left it at that!

Really it could have been one of those nights when she got away with amazing stunts knowing I had few options... But, it didn't turn out that way.

This was all RAD stuff--funny how a mother can start to see the difference between the RAD stuff and the FASD stuff after 5 and 1/2 years of mothering her child!

The FASD issues would have shown in a "disconnected" way. She would have not thought about turning on the bath water and working out a plan to mislead me into believing her. FASD would have shown by the fact that she would not have "registered" the request that she take a bath in the first place. Or it would have shown by the fact that she was not processing the issue that we were getting ready to go to a meeting. FASD would have shown by her being distracted from my request or being slow about taking each step forward.

What I saw last night was Pure RAD... No two ways about that. The RAD child is the one who would work extra hard to pull off a shame and make mom think she has gone crazy. The RAD child would make it appear that she had taken the bath--and then claimed she had washed her hair and that mom was crazy to think otherwise--and mom had problems if she claimed she could smell stinky hair! Mom is nuts because Makala had too taken a bath!

RAD child thinks of the manipulative ways to cause RAD Mom to have a tissy fit--or act completely crazy over something like the fact that Makala's Hair was stinky even though everyone heard that she had taken a bath or shower... GEE!

So--there is just one example of learning about our child with RAD and FASD... While the symptoms might appear to be similar when a mother actually starts to identify the differences and how they manifest--then it is much easier to apply consequences. Had I been able to tell that the ordeal yesterday was about processing or following multi-part instructions and that Makala was just getting Stuck well--the consequences would Not have been the same at all. We would have managed to take one step at a time and make it to the meeting. In fact, that was my original plan as it always is with each step of the day.

When RAD pops up things are very different and it's nice to know that I am now able to see the difference sometimes!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! You have really helped me to understand my boys. We have also struggled with the FASD vs RAD vs ODD, etc. thing. It's SO hard and frustrating! I've been reading through your blog and love it so much! You hit the nail on the head about how it was definitely a RAD moment and not a FASD moment. You helped me (and hubby) see that there is a line in the sand between the two, and that it's ok to have consequences accordingly. Thank you :)

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