Practical Christmas Shopping and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Christmas Shopping:


Hi all! I am here to encourage adoptive and foster families. Most of my posts have to do with adoptive, foster and RAD issues. Please take some time and read some of my other posts. They are intended to help your journey go smoother.

My last post was on forgiveness towards the public. Many times they don’t understand the adoption plight on so many levels. Forgiveness is the best way to solve the division. Please check my last post out.

Today I am going to talk about Christmas shopping specifically for the more severe cases of RAD. The reason for this post is to relieve the parental Christmas shopping heart ache that comes with a severe RAD child. My heart is to help relieve some of the self-judgment we (adoptive parents) find ourselves feeling during the holidays.


Severe RAD and Christmas Gifts:

         When the adoption process begins, we as adoptive parents don’t have an inkling what we are getting ourselves into. When our adopted children are young, the symptoms of RAD may have not seemed even close to being severe. But as they live with us month after month and year after year we finally wake up to the symptoms of RAD raging in our face.

So, what does this have to do with Christmas Shopping? In many cases of RAD, one of the symptoms presents it’s self as destructive to self, others and material things. This is serious and eventually becomes a financial and emotional hardship. These children take delight in destroying things given to them. If they know destroying the things lovingly given to them creates emotional pain to the giver – they intentionally increase the destructiveness on purpose.

If this is your experience, I am here to say it is OK to second guess giving the most expensive (bigger or better) gift if they are just going to destroy it. I wish someone advised my husband and me on this subject. We would have saved our selves money and emotional exasperation. Please let yourselves off the hook and give practical gifts to your severe RAD child.

Understand I am not saying no gifts at all. I am saying to give gifts that make financial and emotional sense for your child. As much as you can – keep your heart free from being hurt by the ungratefulness, destructiveness and punishment.


Remember This Not Your Fault:

This isn’t your fault because your child came with this behavioral issue before you adopted. This issue was in them and grew bigger and bigger every passing day without you knowing it. They already decided to not love themselves, anyone else, or material things.

Go shopping with durability, practicality and economics in mind. Then you will know you did the best you could do for them, your emotional wellbeing and your finances. It’s Ok to not feel guilty.



Speaking of guilt – your child will probably try to guilt you when their gift is not the best of the best. Here is a grand opportunity to have a teaching moment. Point out some examples of their destructive behavior when you did get them the best or more expensive gift. Then point out how it worked out for them. Maybe you can say you learned a lesson and aren’t going to do that again. It will at least give them something to think about for a while.



Hope that helps relieve some misplaced parental expectation of Christmas gifts and RAD behaviors. Please leave a comment by pressing the comment button above next to the title. I would love to talk with you. Until next week when we meet here again…

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Merry Christmas to Adoptive Parents! | Abba Father's Love
  2. Trackback: What to Do When Your Adopted Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Child Doesn’t Believe You | Abba Father's Love

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