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The Pre-Teen RAD

I am parenting a pre-teen RAD. By parenting, I mean keeping alive. And by pre-teen RAD, I mean sociopath. Because is there honestly a more difficult combination than Reactive Attachment Disorder and pre-pubescence? I cannot begin to imagine a worse combination, a more deadly mixture that could wreak this kind of havoc on a family! I mean, do I love this kid? Yes (thinks the tiny voice inside my heart that’s currently being bound and gagged by my humanity), but do I like this kid? Nope. Not even a little bit. Not right now.

Judge if you need to, I’m okay with it! My skin has become far too calloused from the past several months of lies and rants, tantrums and rages. I no longer carry the ability to feel “judged” by my peers. It’s kinda like when you reach a certain age and you can convert to leggings and the messy bun (every day for every occasion) – you just sort of quit. Well, that’s how I feel about parenting my son. I am the legging-wearer, the messy bun, the “screw the make-up” kind of mom now… and there may be no turning back!

And these are the reasons why:

Normal pre-teens have crushes, even going as far as to carry the “boyfriend/girlfriend” label for sometimes a week at a time! Whereas my pre-teen? The only girl he notices is his sister, and that’s only because he threatens to murder her in her sleep if she doesn’t empty out her piggy bank to him on a weekly basis.

Normal pre-teens have hobbies or sports and try to appear “cool” – to fit in – to be popular. My pre-teen is as coordinated as a sloth on roller skates, so sports are out. And I don’t know how he does it, but he can’t even make breathing appear anything but painfully awkward. He hates everything and only attempts to make a go at an activity if he might get paid to do so. He literally must be bribed financially to play with children!

Normal pre-teens look forward to school dances and after-school parties. My pre-teen plots ways to steal from those children while they’re busy socializing with friends.

Normal pre-teens start paying attention to the way they look, smell, and act around their peers. My pre-teen still only showers one side of himself, still can’t figure out how a comb works, refuses to wear an outfit combination that could even be considered remotely attractive, and often smells like a garbage truck…. Probably because he refuses to brush and floss his teeth, leaving weeks worth of food and plaque globbed between his braces.

Normal pre-teens plan for summer camp. My pre-teen plans for the psych ward.

Normal pre-teens get a pet and start learning the responsibilities of caring for another creature. My pre-teen kills or harms most animals he comes in contact with. If this is a sign of his nurturing skills, we may have to have him sterilized!

Now, those parents who do not have a RAD child are probably sitting back right now saying that only a terrible mother would right such horrific things about their own child! Eh, perhaps. But I look around and say that I would be a terrible human being if I didn’t warn the rest of the public of my child. I mean, in the words of Antoine Dodson, “hide your kids, hide your wives”, right? This is my due diligence to society… even if I don’t happen to have a wildly popular social media rant-turned-rap in my back pocket!

But for those of you who DO have a child with RAD, I can actually hear your Amens ringing loud and clear across the nation. I feel them in my soul as we stand together and say that parenting a pre-teen RAD is quite possibly the most exhaustingly heart-wrenching thing, the most tediously frustrating thing, the most frightening love-hate thing that has ever, ever been.

So, when you see me, bear with me. Don’t mind my dirty house, my broken objects, or the screaming child coming from the upstairs bedroom. Don’t worry when my child bangs on the car windows motioning for other vehicles to save him from his “abusive family”. Pay no attention to whispers of inappropriate conversation escaping my son’s mouth – the screams, the threats, the hate and disrespect for women…

My mind is now oatmeal, and my ability to carry on a conversation while watching for my child seek out his next victim is basically gone. If I smile maniacally, it is because my resting face is translated to my son that I am in fighting mode. And if I hyperventilate in your presence, I apologize… chances are I’ve been holding my breath until bedtime when I am finally free to ingest air again.

And to all of you other pre-teen RAD mamas and papas out there… my heart is with you. If you’ve kept your child alive, you are my heroes. And if you haven’t, I totally get it. Here’s to 7 more glorious years! (Oh, sweet Lord almighty…)



Teenage Girls

     There I was, being a good little mother, minding my own business, when all of a sudden all of my children decided that they wanted to be teenage girls. If you have a teenage girl, you already feel sorry for me. If you don’t, let me explain what the past week in our household has looked like.

The Indecisive Child:

Cameron (the 9-year-old)- “I want to play with play dough.”

Me- “Go ahead.”

C- “Ugh….. but I don’t really WANT to play with play dough… UGH!!!” (This was followed by 45 minutes of tears. I kid you not, my child sobbed when given his way.)

The Mood Swing Child:

Taylor (the 7-year-old)- “Thanks for having us do homework over the summer, Mom! I don’t wanna forget everything I’ve learned before 2nd grade even starts!”

(2 minutes later) “I forgot how to add. I FORGOT HOW TO ADD!!!” (Let the tears begin.)

(5 minutes later) “Oh, nevermind, I remember! Ha!” (Smiles of pride replace the tears.)

(3 minutes later) “I forgot it AGAIN!!!” (Tears resume.)

The Entitled Child:

C- “I think you should give me $10 every time I do yard work for you.”

Me- “Nice try. It’s called being part of a family. We work for free around here.”

C- “That’s not even fair!”

Me- “I think you should give me $10 every time I do your laundry. And cook you dinner. And flush the toilet for you. THAT would be fair.”

C- “You guys never give me anything!”

Me- “Shelter… food… clothes… swim lessons… any of these ringing a bell?”

C- “But I want money to buy things!”

Me- “So do I! Either get a job or get a more grateful heart, child, but either way, you’d better get out of arms reach if you’d like to continue living here rent-free.”

The Screaming Child:

Wyatt (14-months-old)-  Frustrated by his inability to articulate his needs, and the fact that he has FOUR TEETH COMING IN (including a molar), he has taken to screaming. Screaming during the day, screaming during the night, screaming when his screaming becomes too laborious for him, screaming when he’s bored…. He even screamed when I refused to let him stab me with a pen. Not kidding.

And the higher the pitch, the more delight he seems to get out of his new hobby. It’s awesome.

The Rude Child:

C- “Why don’t you EVER take us anywhere cool? You’re not any fun.”

Me- “Well, I thought the circus was fun… and the pool. And the amusement park, VBS, the library program, hiking, the park, out to eat….”

C- “McDonald’s is NOT out to eat.”

Me- “I’m sorry that McDonald’s is so beneath you. Your advanced pallet of hot dogs and ramen noodles obviously has you spoiled. Well, we certainly won’t be going there anymore if you can’t show a little appreciation for the things that we do. I’m sorry I can’t entertain you every second of every day, but you’re old enough to use your imagination and be creative. You can play and do some things on your own while I do work.”

T- “It’s not OUR fault you have to work though….” (Said with such attitude!)

And that’s when I took away all electronics, made them put on play clothes, and banished them outside. I told them they could come in when they were no longer teenage girls. They looked at me in confusion. I locked the door behind them.

And they tell me I’m not fun!

The Dramatic Child:

Isaac (2-year-old)- “I want a yogret.”

Me: “Ok, you can have a yogurt in a minute. Let me finish putting the dishes away, ok?”

 I-“I want a yogret now!!”

 Me: “Honey, hold on. Mama’s almost done.”

 I-throws himself down into a prone position, screams into the floor, kicks his legs, cries hysterically, spits all over the floor and rubs his face through it.

T- “Isaac, you wanna come play with the trains?”

I-“Yeah!!!” (Jumps up as if nothing’s happened.)

The Utter Ridiculous Child:

T- “Mom, please take me to the park to ride my bike!!”

Me- “Taylor, there are a lot of hills and it’s almost dark. We’d have to rush the entire time without any stops or they’ll shut the gates on us and we won’t be able to get back out. And you always need breaks, remember?”

T- “No I don’t, Mommy, please! I really, really, really want to ride my bike on the smooth roads!”

     I finally agreed because I wanted to get some exercise anyways. We arrived at the park and were a total of 30 feet into our 2.5 mile walk/bike ride.

T- “Mom, I HATE this! (sobs) I want to quit! (gasps) Will you push my bike and hold my helmet? (flops to ground in “agony”) PLEASE, Mom, I really, really, really want to go back home!”

Me- “Toughen up, cupcake. It’s gonna be a long ride.”

She sobbed for exactly 2.5 miles.

      My husband wants to send them all to the gynecologist to have their ovaries removed because he fears their menstrual cycles have all synced up. And I, the only one with actual working ovaries, am in full agreement. God help us if this summer doesn’t end quickly because these children… they’re flipping nuts.

     I feel the need to say that I love them… but those of you with adolescent girls already know that this is not a necessary clarification, so I’ll just let it go. Bless you, parents of teenagers. Bless you for your patience. Bless you for your strength to not smother them in their sleep. Just… bless you.