I remember one year we had an amazing vacation planned to take the family to Disneyland. In the process of packing, our son with reactive attachment disorder sabotaged our every effort. He made our lives miserable to the point that we had to call the police to stop his escalating violence. As a result, we decided we were going on our family vacation without our son. The rest of our children deserved a break and so did we. It was a tough decision, but it was the right one.
Respite time is not child punishment
Our break from our son with reactive attachment disorder wasn’t a punishment. It wasn’t a decision made in anger. Our son just couldn’t handle the stimulation involved to pack and go to Disneyland that year. He was clearly fearful of the changes in his routine. It all worked out well. He did great in respite care and the rest of us had a fantastic vacation together.
Breaks from your child are absolutely necessary! This is true for every parent, but especially for parents who have children with reactive attachment disorder (read why you need respite care and how to find it). As a parent of a child with reactive attachment disorder, you are in constant danger of burnout. You need respite – a chance to get away alone or as a family while someone else takes care of your child with reactive attachment disorder. The number one rule of parenting is to take care of you first. Without a break, you are definitely not doing so.
Here are some guidelines for how to have a relaxing time when you find respite care:
- Give the respite provider some guidelines but don’t micromanage the situation. You don’t want your child to be dangerous or manipulative. Yet, you’ll need to know that your child will probably get away with some things you wouldn’t let him or her do at home. Just relax. It will be okay.
- Don’t ask for a report. Just pick them up and don’t ask what happened in that moment. If you need the information, make an appointment to have a phone conversation later.
- Don’t believe your child without question. Relief is a great opportunity for a child to split adults who care for them. Make sure you check out anything your child tells you with the relief provider without judgment and anger.
- Relax and have fun while you’re away. Enjoy your time!