At one point, the stealing got so bad at home that I decided to do what many parents would, and took her to the local police station. This was before I had any grasp of the concept of RAD and how these kids worked so I didn’t realize I was walking into the lions den.
Mistake #1: Taking her to the police station at all. A scary place for most kids, especially when they know they are going to get a “talking to” by an officer for something they did that they know is wrong. But for a RAD? What’s the point? Taking a child who lives with an undercurrent of fear to begin with and purposely putting her into a fear-filled situation is certainly no way to gain the trust needed to make headway in the long run, and in fact actually makes the situation worse as this pushes them further down into their mammalian brain and away from the cortex where logic is processed.
Mistake #2: Allowing the officers to speak with her alone. Here I thought perhaps they could gain some insight into her thinking and pass that along to me if I wasn’t there to stifle her. I figured she would be more open and honest without me in the room since we had already spent 30 minutes or so not getting anywhere. Boy was I wrong! If there is one thing I’ve learned about RADs, never ever leave them alone with an adult in any position of authority. They will triangulate and play the pity card like you’ve never seen.
Cool abalone shell? nah, just my empty coffee cup...
Needless to say, I have no idea what transpired in that room that night. All I know is when they walked out of there 45 minutes later, both officers had given RAD their direct phone numbers with instructions to "call anytime" she wanted to talk. What did I get out of it? Nasty looks and derisive stares as though I was some sort of evil monkey. Not just from those two officers either. By the time we got to the front door, it seemed like every officer in that station was shooting me daggers from their eyes.
Ah yes… I didn’t understand it at first when people ‘in the know’ told me that when it comes to parenting a RAD, you have to take everything you’ve learned about parenting and turn it around, upside down, and inside out if you expect to make a difference.
I just wish somebody had told the cops that.