How I Deal With the Wango Tango and Hope

Hope is my second full blown RADish. When I adopted my first RADish 20 years ago, there was very little knowledge available to parents and nobody said attachment disorder. My first Radish even snowed all the professionals until she was 16. I was the one that was labeled crazy. And, really, I didn’t know how to change things.

With Hope, many things are different. There is a wealth of reading material on RAD available. Even living in the middle of nowhere, I was able to locate a psychiatrist who gets it and a therapist that is competent. I only have to drive an hour each way. There are many different versions of best in the RAD world, but I sort through them and cobble together what seems best for my kid. The biggest thing I have now, that I didn’t have the first time? The internet which led to bloggers which led to Trauma Mama’s who share there ideas, offer love and support, give suggestions, and let it be known that I am not alone; we are all in this together.

A reader, Penelope , recently commented… Wow! Please share your insights on how to deal with the tirades. Ignore? Nurture? Discipline? I would love to hear more!

So, in response, I am sharing our current strategies, such as they are for Hope’s Wango Tangos.

  • Hope is either with the Dad, with me, or in school. She is always under strict observation.
  • If she is in public and she starts, one of us leaves with her. We always deprive her of an audience.
  • Nurture during a Wango Tango does not help. However sometimes just being quietly available until she runs herself down allows us to slip straight from the Wango Tango into the nurture.
  • If she starts attacking people or throwing and/or breaking things we move to containment, with the message “we will keep you safe when you can not”. When we have to contain her, it takes a lot longer to get to the nurture. On the flip side, if she needs to be contained, she frequently goes longer before going off again.

We also have a lot of structure in our day, with planned opportunities for attachment activities.

  • We always fix and serve Hope breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. We want her to know that we will always make sure she is taken care of.
  • We give her (limited) choices everyday, so that she knows her opinion is important to us.
  • We keep her world small enough for her to experience some successes and always acknowledge them.
  • Each of us makes sure there is mandatory cuddle (The Dad) and rocking (me) time each day.
  • We are quick to notice and respond to any genuine emotion she allows us to see.
  • Morning and bedtime routines seem to be very important to her stability- if one of them has to change, we all pay for it. We do everything in our power not to change them.
  • We made wordless picture books of Hope’s life story, that we look at regularly together, letting her use her words to tell us about the pictures.
  • A lot of conversations start, ” In our family, we always __________”
  • Most important, we start off with the attitude that every day is a new day, with a new chance for success.

5 thoughts on “How I Deal With the Wango Tango and Hope

  1. Great post! Thanks so much for your comments on my blog. I've been spending time perusing your blog and I love it. "Why I Will Never Take a Shower Again" was priceless. I now realize that my biggest mistake is trying to maintain longer hair. If I cut it short, life will be easier. Right? Okay, if that isn't the whole answer, I'll stick with knowing that I can do anything for a day!

  2. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This is great! When our Stinkpot gets in trouble, he begins saying, "Hold me! Hold me!" I've been responding with "when you are calm". Glad I've been doing something right.

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