It was the summer of 2007. I was walking with the exaggerated waddle that only the very pregnant can manage. I was caring for five boys—three of whom had attachment issues, one severe. As school released for the summer, I knew I was in trouble. I lived in southern Arizona at the time and felt cranky and hot. I had to figure out a plan to keep my cool and do what was best for my kids.
So, I planned activities to keep us all busy that summer. I took them to the community pool almost every day. It was easy to give my 2-year-old the cuddle time he needed in the weightless water! We went to the park. We couldn’t stay too long but enough to get out of the house for a bit. Some days we would go to see grandma. The kids loved to go “lizard hunting” and bring in the squirming reptiles to show me.
For my child with severe and violent behaviors, I had to make a hard choice and send him to live with another family that summer. He was a danger to me, my unborn child, my 2-year-old and my two 7-year-old boys. Sometimes, we have to do the hard thing.
The birth of my sixth son in late July put an end to all the summer activity. By then though, the kids were so worn out that they were just ready for a break before school started. The point is, structure, activity, fun, and laughter are the hallmarks of a great summer. We want our kids to have joy and a childhood they can remember. Within that, don’t forget to take care of yourself with respite time and frequent breaks (read: Why and how to find respite time from your child with reactive attachment disorder). Summertime is the most challenging season for parents of kids with reactive attachment disorder. Thankfully, however, those “breaks” only last a little while and hopefully, given time, can be as enjoyable as you remember the summers of your youth.
Check out our upcoming workshops for support and tips for parents and professionals living or working with kids with reactive attachment disorder at: instituteforattachment.org/events
When we learn together, we can work together to advocate for children and families struggling with reactive attachment disorder!