I’ll See You One and Raise You Twenty

Summer vacation can be challenging for parents of RAD children.

Sonia Billadeau April 11, 2014
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5th grade field tripSomeone who raised two biological kids and two adopted RAD kids once told me that each RAD kid was equal to twenty biological kids. This mother was past the actual child-rearing stage, so she could afford to smile sweetly as she said this. True, her RAD son was on drugs and she couldn’t have a relationship with him, and her RAD daughter wasn’t sure if she was a man or woman. But still. She had her Friday nights to read a book or take a bath or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Which brings me to summer vacation.

If I’ve done the math correctly, my three home-for-the-summer RAD kids equal something like sixty typical kids. That seems about right. There are the standard crowd control techniques one can use to manage large numbers: daily chores, daily reading, daily exercise at the gym. But I submit that managing the relationship dynamics of sixty kids is just plain impossible! I feel like a cross between a tightrope walker and a plate spinner. I’ve got all my plates in the air and they’re all spinning. I’m moving forward on my rope. I haven’t yelled or cried or said anything I’d regret or have to take back. It isn’t easy!

I admit I find it tempting to let my children get away with things so they can retain their privileges of playing with friends–preferably outdoors or at the friends’ houses. I’m not usually a softie when it comes to consistent consequences, but there have been a couple of days when I have been. Wouldn’t you know that those were the worst two days of summer, behaviorally speaking? They need consistent structure.

Last Friday, two of my children were gone on a church camp-out. My husband and I excitedly invited our ten-year-old on a date to see Star Trek and go to dinner. He complained the whole time. He didn’t want the movie theater treats; he wanted to go to 7-11 because they had a better selection. He didn’t want Gatorade, he wanted soda. He didn’t want to see Star Trek (after we had bought the tickets), he wanted to see Man of Steel. He didn’t want to go have Mexican food, he wanted to go to McDonald’s.

There are people in my life trying to convince me that my son–the Olympic Gold Medal Complainer–is just a normal ten-year-old boy. Maybe. But the current of electricity pouring through his body makes me feel like I’m parenting an entire fifth grade class! Summer vacation? Oh no! I just realized I’m on a three-month field trip. H – E – L – P!!!

Photo credit: nwood.kensett.k12.ia.us/1_1317751348757.jpg

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Sonia Billadeau


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