Ahhhh, the holidays are through or summer is over and kids have returned to school. Parents of kids with reactive attachment disorder usually enjoy when school is in session. They get a little break.
School issues can present challenges at home as well, however. Unfortunately, teachers (as well as other professionals and parents for that matter) don’t usually get the education and resources they need to make their jobs easier. Yet, childhood trauma affects at least one in four students in every classroom, according to the Attachment and Trauma Network, Inc. We’re hoping to reduce the amount of frustration for everyone involved, including the children with RAD, with the following tips for you to share with the teachers in your life.
Here’s what we’d like to tell teachers in regard to their students with reactive attachment disorder:
- Keep discipline discreet to keep control of your classroom. Hold kids with RAD accountable for their actions, but do so in privacy. Kids with RAD do their best to control their environments. If you bring attention to such a student in public, he or she may very well take the opportunity to take center stage and take over your class.
- Kids with RAD use behaviors as self-protection and survival. Their behaviors can feel extremely frustrating, overwhelming, and confusing. Try to not take the behaviors personally. Rather, do your best to remove yourself emotionally from the behaviors. Your role as a teacher of kids with RAD is simply to teach them. Although tempting, don’t attempt to solve or “fix” them. Don’t underestimate your value as a teacher.
- Kids with RAD want and need for you to treat them the same as their classmates. They thrive on routine, consistent expectations and accountability, and logical consequences, just like all kids. Hold kids with RAD accountable for their own learning and choices, not their parents. Our therapeutic treatment parents here at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development use the Love & Logic parenting philosophy. We allow our kiddos to make their own choices and experience natural results thereafter. That said, we provide them with quiet and sufficient learning spaces and time to complete homework and let them know we’re available to answer questions if they get stuck. The rest is up to them. We won’t take responsibility for their missed assignments or poor grades.
- Behavior modification doesn’t work for kids with RAD. When you use candy, toys, etc. as rewards for kids with RAD, their behaviors can actually escalate in return. Tell them your expectations and hold them accountable. Let them know that you appreciate their good choices. Allow them to experience the natural results of their choices, whether that means good or poor grades, etc.
- Get to know parents well and don’t take sides. Kids with RAD often triangulate. They are often skilled manipulators who can convince you of all sorts of false information about their home lives. In fact, they often make false abuse allegations against their parents. While it’s your job to take abuse accusations seriously, keep in mind that false accusations can cause serious damage in families.
- Children need to take responsibility for their own education. Parents, teachers, and administrators should not work harder than the children to “make them learn”. We believe that education is a privilege. When children choose not to learn, they earn poor grades. That is their choice, not yours.
Whether you’re a teacher, other professional, or parent struggling with a child with RAD, we understand that your job is tough. Yet, you’re such a vital part in the lives of kids overcoming early trauma. Please don’t give up.
We’re always looking for potential therapeutic treatment parents to hire. Learn about a “day in the life” of an IACD treatment parent.
Related links for teachers:
Related links for parents: