A new therapist recently told a teenage RAD that when she gets upset, to “zip it, count to 10, and to go her room.” After 7 years of therapy, this new therapist thought all the raging and destruction and pain and damage caused by this girl could be immediately ended with these 3 little steps? The mom of this child was in shock that she’d just paid $200/hr for that kind of answer. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
When she posted it on the forums, we all had a good laugh over the naivete of the therapist. Maybe McDonalds was hiring… The more I looked at the list, though, the more I liked it. For me. My first thought when my kid pushes my buttons, or does something he knows perfectly well will either drive me crazy or piss me off, just because he can and he likes the family in chaos, is for me to start flapping my jaws at him. But I need to think before I speak. He’s done these things for a reason – they are thought out – and so must any words I speak. But my emotion/irritation/anger gets in the way and I blurt out stupid stuff which doesn’t help and feeds his addiction to chaos. So my first thought needs to be: zip it. Don’t say a word until you’ve thought through things. Count to 10… get rid of the anger/irritation before speaking. This is therapeutic parenting. We have to be mindful of what we say. And of course I like the last part, in theory, anyway, if I can’t zip it and I can’t get control of my emotions, just go to my room! Wouldn’t that be great? LOL Ok, maybe I’ll just go in the kitchen and grab some chocolate. There is no rulebook here and nothing says the issue has to be addressed and finished right then. Old-time parenting says that… but this is not old time parenting. Maybe all you say is, “Clean it up” at that moment, and you deal with the rest later when you’ve calmed down. That’s ok.
Although the therapist was very serious when she told this teen this, and although its’ really stupid advice for a RAD who is not in their “higher brain/thinking brain” in the midst of a rage, maybe it’ll work for me. Hey, it’s worth a try, anyway! Who’s with me? (and if it doesn’t work, well, there’s always chocolate!)