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Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in Adopted Teens

Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is commonly diagnosed with children that have been adopted.

Especially during the puberty (tween and teen) years the behavior of a child with RAD can escalate into oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).  These are the times when parents feel like they are going to pull their hair out!

ODD is not only with teens that are experiencing RAD, many teens will go through a period of defiance – testing their boundaries.  However with RAD children it sometimes can be more extreme.

Treatment of ODD involves therapy, training to help build positive family interactions and skills to manage behaviors.

In many situations parents have exhausted their local resources, including counseling and outpatient options and are faced with considering therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers or other teen help programs.

There is a fear that they might be feeding into an abandonment issue, but parents need to understand that they will be giving their child an opportunity for a healthy life.  Living with the rage, anger and stress is not beneficial for anyone.  They have to learn how to handle their negative impulsiveness and sometimes that means being removed from their environment.

These programs are trained to understand RAD students, as well as work closely with their families. The family is part of the recovery process.

If you want to learn more about residential therapy for teen’s with RAD or struggling with ODD, contact us.  Read more about RAD in an essay written by a parent with an adopted teen.

For support groups for parents of adopted children, visit Adoptive Families Circle.

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