Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control

I spend so much time talking about the principles I’ve learned from the book Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control (BCLC) that I figured I might as well stop beating around the bush and actually directly address what this book is all about.

When I first found BCLC, I read it from the perspective of an adoptive mom struggling to parent a child with very severe behaviors. I skipped across the first few chapters until I got to the heart of the matter: the case scenarios. I wanted to read about how this so-called miracle method works in children like my son. I mean, this kid of mine was absolutely out of control! He tantrumed all day long everyday. He had been expelled from public school twice by second grade. He would NOT do any chores at home whatsoever. He wouldn’t respond to any amount of discipline or reward. The last straw was when he sent my 2 year old biological daughter to the ER with her teeth broken out of her beautiful face. I was without hope. I felt like I was unable to parent this child whatsoever. I felt like he truly hated me and my heart was broken a little bit more everyday.

I probably sat on the information of BCLC for at least 6 months before I picked up the book again. By then I had thought a lot about what it was saying to me: that children with RAD can heal. That went against everything I had ever heard about Reactive Attachment Disorder. I had been told that these children were sociopaths in training, that the damage done to their brains was permanent, and that the best thing you could do as a parent was to find a really good residential treatment facility to keep on hold for later.

But what BCLC was saying was that there was hope. That my son didn’t have to live out his life feeling this angry, this desperate. He didn’t have to die one day without ever knowing what love really feels like. BCLC told me that I, as the parent, had the power to change my son’s path. That was the opposite of what I had been told by therapists, books, and other adoptive parents. But now I was ready to at least give it a try. I mean, what did I have to lose? My kid was already so bad I was seeking placement outside the home. It was my last ditch effort. I could at least try it, right?

Well, I did. I tried it. As best as I could at that time, although I was still extremely reactive and I wasn’t exactly doing it “right”. I still yelled and I still sent kids to their rooms. Hey, there are moments I still do. But the beauty of BCLC is that there is no such thing as right or wrong. BCLC allows you the space to do what you need to do in any moment and it gives you permission to be angry and to be loving and be able to go to all the emotional places in between with them safely. And that is exactly what an attachment-disordered child needs you to do. They need you to be able to run that spectrum of emotions with them. And more than that, they need you to believe they can run it too.

Because, quite frankly, that is not what I was told. I was told that these children have no “real” emotions. I was told that anything even closely resembling love was in fact an attempt to control me. I was told that my son’s anger was his way of intimidating me. I was told that my son would never learn what love really was. And I was so paralyzed by fear that I didn’t know to think anything else.

But, 3 years later, I can sit here today, at this keyboard, and offer up my experience as a living testimony to the power of unconditional love and the principles in BCLC. When I first became able to love my son — wrap my arms around him genuinely and look at him with sincere, deep, longing — was when my son was first able to do that back to me. Suddenly, he was laughing at my jokes, looking towards me for social ques, and climbing up into my arms for affection. And yes, it still makes me cry to even write that. Because it seemed so impossible then. And still it seems so surreal.

But it’s not.

It’s real.

And it’s not just about my son. It’s about me. About becoming the person I always thought I was. Years ago I was emotionally unbalanced, judgmental, frozen by fear and expectations of those around me. Today I am light as a bird because I know who I am. I am not a slave to my emotional wims. I can be angry and still be safe. I can express love and not limit that experience by placing unnecessary expectations on those I share it with. Most improved is my overall sense of hope. Because three years ago there was none. Today there is nothing but HOPE.

Because these children can heal. And you and I can do something to make that happen. That is the power of BCLC. And what do we have to lose in trying it? We have nothing to lose except the opportunity that is slipping through our fingers if we choose to ignore experiences like mine.

Trust your gut. Test out everything you’ve ever been told. Buy the book. Read it. Read it again. And again. And write me back when you start to “get it”. Because I know you will. And your kids will LOVE you for it.  And you will love them too.

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July 5, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm, RAD Education

3 Comments »

  1. Great post. I learned about Beyond Consequences through some other adoptive mothers in a support group. My three adopted “kids” are grown now, but I wish this information and wisdom had been availale when they were young. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Susan Cushman | March 31, 2009 | Reply

  2. How old was your son when you began this?

    Comment by Joanne | June 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. My son is 11 now, but I believe he was 7 when I first found BCLC. It works for all ages, including adults.

    Do you have children with severe behaviors?

    Comment by amazingparents | June 7, 2009 | Reply


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