Okay - after today, my prince has a new title to the book that he is writing.
Isn't Life RAD?? Living with Reactive Attachment Disorder Children
Now you may wonder what is RAD... good question, the short answer is this:
Reactive attachment disorder is when infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child's growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships. Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition.
But your next question will be, What does this look like on a daily basis? This is far more complicated and is unique to each child that suffers from the diagnosis. We have two children with this, and it presents differently in each one.
But for Sneezy and her several days of unfortunate events... when it all came to a head, it looked like this...
As always, a bit of background...Sneezy is on the cusp of being a young woman, and for all intensive purposes is, the issues that prevent her or us from taking this giant leap into young adulthood his her inability to know how to correctly behave is social situations, how to properly engage in conversations, in person or electronically.
And so the story begins... Sneezy wanted a Facebook account. The Prince and I are hesitant because of her inability to observe what most would consider a normal understanding of social graces and the natural ability to know that you don't comment on every photo, every wall post etc. We did acquiesce and allow her to open an email account for the purpose of communicating with teachers, checking grades, and getting updates on school happenings and schedules. (and as a gauge as to how she would handle the responsibility that went along with having an email account) The Prince and I have the pass code and we are able to monitor her account, and things have been going well. So for her 14th birthday we purchased an Ipod for her (you know the fancy kind with the touch screen and wireless Internet.) which we got used from a reliable source and have been monitoring her time on that as well. However recently, we were noticing that she was obsessing with texting (using the free texting app) that she downloaded, as well as a general over use of the Ipod.
So now we are all current, Sneezy went away on Friday after school and while she was gone, her Ipod goes off and she has a facebook message... I say something to the Prince, asking if he gave Sneezy permission to open a facebook account. He says no. I say well she just got a notification that she has a message... The Prince says we will talk to her in the morning..
Fast forward to Saturday Morning after breakfast, and we ask her about her Facebook account, which she denies having... really we say, since you got a new message notification on your IPod while you were away last night, it would seem you have a facebook. " OOOhhh that..." she draws out, "ummmm... well I share an account with a friend. Oh, we say... this is not acceptable, you have gone behind our backs and have been deceptive about this, so you need to cut all ties to this account, and hand over your Ipod for a week. In a huff, she says "FINE." Whatever, I didn't really want an account anyhow." (RAD response: to lie about what you really want to make it seem like you don't care about the situation)
So my Prince says while we have Sneezy's undivided attention, do you have any other "new" accounts we should be aware of? "No." Prince pushes further, no email accounts, no other facebook accounts, nothing new? "Nope" .
Now it is important to note that there is no one else in ear shot of this conversation.... this will be important later... we wrap up, she hands over her IPod and we move on with the day -- (RAD response: no remorse, no desire to "make things right" the reaction is to pretend the incident never happened)
So fast forward to Sunday: Our exchange student gets in the van to go to church, excitedly looks over her shoulder and says to Sneezy, " I find you on facebook, I request to be your friend, when you get facebook?" "What? Who did you request to be your friend? I inquire as we are driving towards the church. What was her full name because, our Sneezy does NOT have a facebook.... Sneezy Lingle, I find her on someone elses friend list, I request her."
Oh my, there must be a mistake I say to the exchange student. So please show me the friend acceptance and the account attached to it when you get confirmation please.
All the while in the rear view mirror Sneezy's face goes through about 16 color changes of red...all the while blubbering about how she does NOT have a facebook.
So after church Sneezy and Sleepy head out to the great outdoors for the afternoon with a friend, and I, and a friend turn into Internet sleuths... hacking facebook accounts, which we still have no understanding of what happened... but to summarize - Sneezy in a series of very unfortunate events created a ghost account, hid it from the Prince and I as well as her big sister Doc. But because she could not hide all people, and could not spell the exchange students name, the exchange student could access her... (RAD response: inability to think things through to a logical conclusion, which is that eventually on someones Facebook friend list, someone who knew she should not have an account would see her.)
Well at the end of the day, Sneezy and the Prince and I sit down to have a conversation about the situation. Now please remember it is just a discussion about telling the truth in all things, and that when you lie it breaks trust, and to point out that she had ample opportunity on Saturday to tell the whole truth but how one lie snowballs into more lies until you are caught in an avalance of lies that burry you alive (okay that visual was for all of you without RAD or processing disorders, because had we said all that Sneezy's head would have been spinning.)
So I sit at the laptop and tell Sneezy to log into her Facebook account... so she starts typing in an email address that is not her gmail account. And feigns not knowing her password... but is she pretending or is this part of the series of unfortunate events... so we log on to the home page for hotmail and she tries to log in there - however her account is frozen because of too many unsuccessful log in attempts (and not by me that afternoon, because I hacked her account through her gmail email. ) So now it seems that Sneezy went to a lot of work to create on the sly, an account both in hotmail and facebook, that she could not use or access, because she did not write down the passwords... um... would that be the chastening of the Lord for being disobedient to her parents???
Now here is the RAD part --- the focus we are trying to discuss is the issue of sin in her life (lying and being deceitful) but because of her issues the wall goes up, the emotions leave her (except anger and irrational thought; if that qualifies as an emotional response) and the conversation swings with more drama and unrelated events than a weekday soap opera... from we are not caring enough parents, to we are all up in her business and need to not care so much, to we are ruining her dreams, to she wants to work at McDonald's all her life. If she got pregnant we would kill her and her baby, she wants to go to college now, but we will never let her leave our house to she is leaving and we can't stop her. Why would she waste time talking to us because we are not her real parents... well I guess you get the idea.
To all of this I sit shaking my head, rationally trying to talk to an irrational child, who is a broken and cracked vessle that the Lord, almost 8 years ago placed in my heart and home to love forever. Feeling like I am failing to be able to prepare her for the basic situations in life, where she will be faced with consequences from poor choices, confrontations with others asking her to do something different or not do something at all... wondering if we are getting through at all.
Again, no connection, no remorse and today 24 hours later, it is as if the conversation never happened, as if she never had electronics or the right to use them in our home, not a thought in her mind, that she broke a bond of trust, that she unknowingly spent so much time and energy building; by going behind our backs and doing what she wanted....
So I once again offer this snap shot of life with a big sigh, and a humble recognition that you can't make this stuff up....and often giggle to myself to think that God placed all this in my hands because He thinks I am more than capable of all things through HIM who strengthens me....