What to Do When Your Extended Family or Friends Don’t Understand Adoption RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder):

What to Do When Your Extended Family or Friends Don’t Understand Adoption Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD):


         Hello again! I want to encourage as many adoptive families as I possibly can with this blog. It is why I created this blog in the first place. I hope it encourages you!

My last post was about dividing what is yours and what is your adopted RAD child’s issues. It is helpful to pre-empt family conflict by dealing with your own personal issues beforehand. Then when conflict arises in your adopted children, you’re only dealing with their issues. Please take a moment to check out my last post.

Today we are going to talk about when our extended families don’t understand adoption RAD. It is a difficult subject especially for the adoptive family. Many times regular parenting tools don’t work for adopted RAD children and different tools are needed instead. This is so hard to explain let alone implement when friends and family don’t understand adoption RAD.


Extended Family and Friend Parenting Conflicts:

         In many ways it would be helpful for extended family and friends to read this blog or take adoption classes about RAD symptoms. It would be nice but as far as I know family and friends aren’t included in the adoption process. Maybe they were when you adopted but not when I did.

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful concerning your extended family and friends and explaining RAD. Some may work and some may not:

1)  Google the RAD symptom list and print it out to give to your family and friends. Maybe they will listen to professional information. It is an extensive list with some very unusual symptoms.

2)  Find and go to an adoptive parents support group. It is so rewarding to be around other parents going through the same or similar adoptive issues. You can glean from each other about how to deal with difficult behavior, etc. Some very creative ideas have come from the support group I lead. Maybe take some family or friends to one of your support group meetings. Hearing others say the same things you are saying could be helpful and eye opening.

3)  Find friends that believe you when you need to vent about what is going on in your home. Not everyone will believe you because your adopted RAD child may not display difficult behavior in front of them. They might not understand the parenting tools you are using because your tools are so different from the tools they use. But there may be friends you can find who will encourage and support without judgment.

4)  I feel the most important relationship in the family is the one between spouses. It is necessary to have a united front (between spouses) with friends and family especially when they don’t understand adoption RAD. If both of you are saying your child is behaving in a certain way – it is difficult for others to argue the contrary. Sometimes family and friends think they are the authority on parenting adopted RAD children when they are not. If that is the case you may need to ignore them. They may not listen no matter how hard you try to explain.



         It is always good to learn who you can and can’t confide in when it comes to your life. The same is true when you have adopted RAD children. It is such a diverse and complicated disorder and these RAD children are masters at manipulation and narcissistic control.

Build the emotional support which will benefit you, your spouse, and your RAD children as a whole. That sadly doesn’t always include everyone who is in your extended family or friend’s circle of relationships. Strong support for your family is important.

Thanks for listening. Please leave a comment in the box below. I will be back next week with another post. Until then…