Helping your adopted child with RAD go from reactive to proactive

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Helping your adopted child with RAD go from reactive to proactive

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Many parents, even parents of typically developing kids, end up in a very reactive relationship with them meaning that the parent reacts to what the child does. It's probably not terribly damaging if the kid is healthy, however, for traumatized kids or kids who have Reactive Attachment Disorder, this is how they have lived in a very reactive situation, and their parents have reacted to them, their birth family probably, and they've reacted to them. And so, by the time parents get to an attachment therapist they're often very angry and very reactive, and it really should be the attachment therapist's goal to help the parents become more proactive. In other words, we want the parent leading the child as opposed to responding to the child because when you're reacting to the child the child's really in the lead. So we see many kids, for example, who hoard food and hide food due the early neglect of food and being fearful that they're not going to have food. So, many parents start out by depriving the child saying, "You can only have four cookies." What we like to have them do is go buy an extra box of cookies and tell the child, "I know that you really like these cookies and you're always happy when we have a lot of these cookies, so today we bought an extra box of cookies and you can feel free to eat as many as you want." In that way the parent is already controlling the arena a bit more and the child is then having some higher level of comfort with knowing that he or she can have access to these cookies without having to limit them to four or five a day.

Watch Gregory Keck, PhD's video on Helping your adopted child with RAD go from reactive to proactive...

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Gregory Keck, PhD

Founder & Director, Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio

Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio. He is an internationally known psychologist and trainer who addresses the issues of trauma, adoption, and post-adoption challenges. He and his staff provide attachment therapy for adoptive families whose children have experienced serious early childhood maltreatment prior to adoption. In 2012, he received the National Association of Social Workers State of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the parent of two sons who were adopted in adolescence.

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