By Dyan Roosma, IACD Treatment Mom
A few months ago, my two youngest biological children had a day off school while the rest of the kids didn’t have the day off. My husband Chris and I decided to take the little guys out for ice cream a few towns over.
As we ate our ice cream and walked along the creek, we received many smiles from people. They approved of our well-behaved and attractive children. The four of us are the same race and all look alike—the perfect little family. If only they knew.
Their approving glances and friendly smiles still bother me. That’s because we get the opposite reaction when our whole household hits the town. It’s sad—for us and for our kiddos. But it’s a reality we learn to accept.
Attachment disorder and pink hair don’t look as “pretty” in public
I’ve learned to ignore the usual looks of disgust or curiosity akin to a freak show in a circus. We are a huge family of different colors, ages, genders, and behaviors. Sometimes, our kids display pink hair, tattoos, or horrific scars from cutting or burning. The judgment we get as parents overwhelms me sometimes.
It helps a little to live in a small town where most people know us. They know what we do. But when we leave our safe little bubble, it’s a cold and cruel world. So how do we combat this? As parents of RAD kids, most of us have had extremely embarrassing moments with our kids…outbursts of temper tantrums, cuss words, and false allegations. Strangers ask us outright about our “different” children.
Here are the lessons I’ve learned as a mom of “different” kids:
1. I need to put down my pride. I love my kids—it doesn’t matter what they look like (or smell like).
2. I need thicker skin. I’m immature when I get easily offended. For my children’s sake and health, I need to show them I’m a grown up.
3. Other people’s curiosities don’t grant them rights to information. When my oldest son was younger, strangers told me that I looked way too young to be his mother. I would smile back and say, “I was 16 when he was born.” This is true, even though I didn’t birth him. Oh, the looks they gave! It’s only funnier that we’re completely different races. The two of us bonded over those moments and still laugh about them.
Here’s my advice to you, a parent of a RAD child:
If it gets to be too much, share your pain. I am sure we all have stories. Feel free to share them here, or call a friend or fellow parent in the trenches and unload. Catharsis is good for the soul (just don’t let your kiddo overhear)!
Please express your feelings here! How do you feel as a parent of a RAD child in public?