I have four children. Four beautiful little souls given to me in this life to care for and protect.
However, in our house, one of the biggest threats I have to protect my children and myself from is our second child, because she has RAD.
When I talk about our L and what she does (and I don't talk about the worst of it on this blog) people are quick to compare their hard child (most of us have one or two) with our L.
I will admit, this stings a little.
It is like comparing the flu with someone else's cancer.
Yes, both are miserable and both are hard to go through...but everyone would admit that one is definitely worse than the other. One can last months or even years, while the other lasts a week or two and the one is more life threatening than the other.
Now, I am not talking about kids with other forms of mental health issues, as mental health issues vary just as much as cancer does...cancer is cancer while mental health is mental health. There are of course categories within cancer and mental health, but I'm not here to focus on that.
I just need people to understand that we truly do live in a war zone each and every day.
I want you to get a view into what our everyday life is like without disclosing too much as we, RAD parents, have so many haters out there that should be on our side but aren't.
I'll just go with our night last night until this morning...not even a full day.
8:00 PM we put our kids to bed. Flavio has to take care of L because if I do, she flips. ( I want more than anything to love on her and tuck her in) She takes my love and sabotages it. Every. Single. Time.
8:15 PM L is up running around her room, perched on her window sill and scraping off the drywall and eating it. Her light is on again and she is wide awake. We ignore it.
8:30 PM L is now running around her room hitting the walls, jumping on and off her mattress and laughing really loud.
8:35 PM Flavio tells her to go to bed and turn off her light.
8:45 PM she is still running around. We ignore it.
9:30 PM she is making more noise and using her mattress as a noise maker (picking it up and dropping it on the floor)
9:40 PM Flavio takes her mattress out and tells her she can have it back when she calms down. She screams and starts hitting Flavio.
11:00 PM Lia is still awake, her light on and she is still being loud (our kids are used to this by now so they sleep through it most nights)
11:30 PM Flavio and I go to bed, Lia is still awake.
7:00 AM Lia's light it still on and she is still up and is very tired now.
7:15 AM Lia starts to kick the door so hard it sounds like it might break. She is screaming at us telling us that we hate her and the we don't care about her. Flavio has to put her in a safe hold. She screams at him for 30 minutes and then finally calms down. He is exhausted.
(RAD kids go into what they describe at LSD strength...she is stronger than I could have ever imagined and it takes ALL of me to keep her from hurting herself or others)
8:15 AM L is finally calm we go to take her breakfast (some mornings if she doesn't like it, she throws it at us) but this morning she started to rage again...Flavio has to put her into her second hold.)
9:15 AM L is calm again and has actually fallen asleep.
10:10 AM We all have been able to finally breathe again....
This is our life...she is almost 8, she isn't 3. She has been this way for 6 years now. L isn't like any healthy child, I have three healthy children who range from hard to pretty easy. What we go through with L doesn't even compare even a little bit with my other children's hard.
(I do want to add that I am not trying to say that raising healthy "hard" children isn't hard...I still get upset and frustrated with my other children almost every day.)
When you have a child with mental health issues, you are in a war zone every single day. You walk on eggshells, worried about the next attack, worried for her, worried for your other children, worried we'll always have to protect ourselves from her...
RAD children don't get easier as they get older...they get harder. They are bigger, stronger, wiser, and even more manipulative.
Lots of love,
Niki and Flavio