Keeping a Few Steps Ahead of RAD


 This blog is for all the foster and adoptive parents out there dealing with the very difficult symptoms of RAD in your adoptive child. I would like to include the parents of children with behavioral problems too. I have written many posts on the subject of RAD so please go through past posts and catch up on what I have shared. I’m sure you will relate if you have an adopted RAD child of your own or a child with behavioral problems.

My last two posts were about making Christmas a win-win for everyone. Please check it out. I gave some very helpful hints.

Today’s post is about staying ahead of your child and their need to keep everything in chaos. Constant chaos is difficult. Having a peaceful home is the goal and there is someone who can help you.


The RAD’s Need for Someone to be Strong:

        In a previous post I talked about how the RAD adopted child needs to know you are strong before they will let you anywhere near their heart to love them. To recap: The RAD adopted child is so hurt by the birth mom for giving them away – they VOW not to let anyone close enough to their heart to hurt them ever again. To the adopted child – the birth mom wasn’t strong enough to deal with life or provide a loving home. To make matters worse – the birth mom may or may not have made a very selfish decision to give them away. But all the child sees and feels is rejection and being cheated out of the love they deserve and desire. The child’s vow is a wall (around their heart) and showing you’re strong enough to provide and protect them helps in this situation.


How To Show Strength:

        Remember you have Holy Spirit to help you. I have written four posts titled “What power is behind you vs. RAD” which talk about the Holy Spirit. Please check them out.

Building a close relationship with Holy Spirit is paramount to showing strength and keeping a few steps ahead of your adopted RAD child’s scheming and chaos. If you ask for His (Holy Spirit’s) help – He will give you inspirational ideas to win your child’s heart.

Plus, the RAD child doesn’t seem to possess the ability to think things out to the end. At least our girls didn’t think things all the way through. This is one of the symptoms of RAD along with the need to lie and create chaos all the time. These symptoms are not acceptable and keeping a few steps ahead of your RAD child’s schemes will help.


Examples of Keeping Ahead of Your RAD Child’s Symptoms:

        First, I want to say chaos is the result of RAD symptoms. You are trying to stay ahead of and display strength – for the sake of building trust. Your child has symptoms because of what has happened to them. They are emotionally damaged and hurting! They have lost trust in the one(s) (birth family) who should have been mature enough to create a safe place for them to grow. Now you have the pleasure of trying to transform dis-trust into trust and love. Holy Spirit is very creative and can help you stay ahead of your child’s schemes.



  1. Our girls went to a school where the dress code was somewhat strict. Our oldest adopted RAD child kept breaking the school rules by wearing a zip up hooded jacket during school hours and that wasn’t permitted because of the dress code. She would sneak it to school and wear it anyway. I decided to let things take their course (allowing it to play out to the end) and she wore the hoody and it was confiscated by the school. (The school knew about our girls and what we were going through. Our principal had knowledge of RAD because of personal experience of his own) So, I went in and got the jacket and our daughter had to use her own money to purchase it back with the understanding that if it happened again – I would cut it up and throw it away. The issue was settled when her hoody got cut up and thrown away. It never happened again.


  • Insight: Letting things take their course while your child is still in your home is good and shows them you are strong enough to let the situation happen ultimately for their good. (That didn’t happen with their birth families because nothing happened for their good) The school and I were in the lead (a few steps ahead) and we were strong enough to enforce what was right and for her best. Plus, it was nice to not have to be the initial enforcer but support the school when they were.


2. When my daughters were old enough I taught them to do their own laundry. My oldest adopted daughter would wash and fold her laundry and take it upstairs. I would ask her to bring the laundry basket down when she came down the next time but because it was one of the things she decided to use to create conflict and chaos – she would refuse to bring it down. After repeated refusals I decided to go up and get the basket myself except I kept the clothes that were in the basket too. I explained that every time I would have to go and get “MY” basket I would keep any clothes that were in the basket and she would have to purchase them back. My husband and I made a list of purchase prices and showed it to her. She didn’t believe us until we collected $100 from her. Needless to say it never happened again.

  • Insight: Simple respect and cooperation is necessary from your child so they see you are strong enough to be in charge. Strength brings trust and peace into your home. In addition, money worked with our daughter. You will have to find what works with your child. (In severe cases of RAD – it’s sad to say – they don’t have anything that is meaningful to them)



 An adopted RAD child wants a show of strength from someone. When you are in charge – they don’t have to be in charge – and that allows them to relax and trust. Hopefully it will developed enough trust to let you close enough to love them.

Please leave a comment in the box below. I would love to hear from you. Till next time…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Adoption RAD and Adoptive Fathers | Abba Father's Love

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