My kids, in addition to their RAD, Early Trauma, Prenatal Drug Effects, and slew of other Diagnoses (Asperger's, ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorder, possible BiPolar)... have a lot of trouble regulating their emotions at times. (The preteen hormones certainly don't help!) When they all get going, (despite years and years of working on calming, on kindness, on "no touching!"), this house becomes a battle ground. I have kids screaming, slamming doors, attacking each other, throwing things (and when dear, sweet Molly was here, kicking holes in walls, etc, too.) Even if only one of the kids is at that point, it makes it impossible for the others to focus on their schoolwork. So this week I'm trying the old trick of getting anger out and regulating emotion with exercise. We've tried the trampoline, spinning, etc for sensory issues in the past to help them regulate, but they are resistant to any of that, since they know full well the goal is to calm them and that's the last thing they actually want... their anger, being out of control... feels like control in their minds. (Figure that one out! There's no logic when it comes to RAD.)
So... my new trick is sending them out on walks. Whichever kid is disregulated (or all of them) have to get their shoes and coat on and get out the door. They have to follow road rules, cross at crosswalks, and stay off of people's property (and not mess with anything), but beyond that, they can walk wherever their feet take them, as long as they are home in an hour. There's a park about a half mile from here, there are several "little free libraries" in easy walking distance (I remind them to take a book to give away if that's their destination), there are lots of neighborhood streets to wander down, lightning rods to count (it's a Sam thing), dogs to observe... Friday morning, when I sent them ALL out, Gideon perched himself in a tree near the elementary school for a while and overheard an announcement over their loudspeaker system that the school was in lockdown... again. That of course, concerned me, but he was pretty excited about the news.
It seems to work. I get a short break from their psychosis (yes, I realize I'm being a little free with that word), they get the separation from irritating each other, and they come back calmer and ready to work... and ready to talk to each other like FRIENDS, to tell each other what they saw and did on their walks. I'm trying not to get too hopeful about this new solution. Nothing seems to work for long. And the first day it's pouring down rain when I send them out, we're going to experience some meltdowns, for sure. But for now, it's working. And I'm thankful for that.