Friday, August 7, 2020

Comments by One Scared Mama

Showing 1 of 1 comments.

  • I deeply value your viewpoint, and I hope you can appreciate mine.

    I am the parent of a child with a Serious Emotional Disorder known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (Inhibited.) Her problem stems from severe abuse and neglect as an infant. When we adopted her 16 years ago, much less was known about this disorder.

    My daughter has frightening behaviors, despite years of therapy. She has put every member of our family in harm’s way at one time or another. She has made false allegations against me, her father, sister, and friends of our family – allegations that could ruin a person’s life. She has given her sister’s identity to pedophiles on the internet. She has used the internet to seek ways to harm me or have others harm me. (One may ask, why not keep her away from the internet? That is virtually impossible if a child attends school.) There have been many times when I have feared for my life and the lives of my other children. For years, I waited for the phone call that told me she had harmed another family’s child.

    When I relocated, it was extremely difficult to find services for her. I was warned by the department of health and social services to be wary of local therapists who did not understand her disorder, and would likely blame the mother. After several years of pleading with school and mental health services, my daughter showed her true colors in front of people she previously fooled. (RAD kids are extremely charming.)

    Finally, school officials paid attention. The local mental health facility tried to help me find appropriate services for her. Those services were in excess of $7,000 per month. Twice as much as I bring home to support my family as a single mother. I was told that the only way for her to receive the services she needed was to get her involved in the juvenile justice system. My daughter would have to be labeled a criminal in order to get help.

    My daughter is NOT a criminal, and I refuse to make her one. On the other hand, she has a huge potential to harm other people, and getting appropriate access to services for her has been nearly impossible.

    She now lives at a private boarding school that provides intense therapy. I was extremely fortunate to find a sponsor for her to attend this school, otherwise, I would be bankrupt by now (and perhaps even dead.)

    There are a growing number of parents like me. People whose intentions were to make the world a better place for one child (or sometimes several children.) Our children come to us damaged by the actions of another parent, and yes, many are prone to violence. Parents like me are frequently physically attacked by their children, blamed by social services and naive therapists, and left with virtually no resources.

    I find myself praying to God that my daughter will not harm anyone. It’s about the only thing I can do.

    I welcome to the debate that more mental health services are needed. I do not favor making mental health a scapegoat for gun violence. I do not think that everyone with a mental health disorder is a threat to society, but many people who do pose a threat to society have mental health disorders.

    I personally oppose the privatized prison system we now think need to feed. It’s part of the reason I was told to get my daughter “involved in the juvenile justice system.” We need proactive, preventative measures, not punitive ones. How do we achieve a healthier balance for the members of our society who need treatment and understanding without stigmatizing them as gun-toting maniacs?