RadKid.Org: Reactive Attachment Disorder

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Reactive Attachment Disorder: Strong Sitting

Of course, I've not been inside our nephew's brain, but judging from his actions, his brain must be going 100 miles an hour, nonstop. It is not possible to focus on chores or problem-solving when one's brain is racing in that manner.

Strong sitting helps children find self-control and patience. In order to accomplish tasks and function properly, children need to learn to quiet themselves emotionally and physically.

If your child has problems staying dry, you should use a rubber-backed rug which he can clean when he's finished.

Pick a spot where your child will be doing his strong sitting. It should be safe and comfortable for him and free from distractions. I pick a spot that is in my view so that I can monitor his sitting while doing something else, usually he strong sits just inside the door to his bedroom, which is directly across from the door to my office. I use my computer while he sits, and glance over at him every minute or so.

He sits with his legs folded Indian-style, his head still and straight ahead, and his back straight. His hands can be on the floor, on his thighs, or in his lap.

Eliminate distracting noise or pets. In the beginning, strong sitting seems to be extremely difficult for these children, and they are easily distracted. Over time, add a noise or activity, so that he can get stronger and can focus despite distractions.

Nancy Thomas suggests starting children with 3-5 minutes and working up to 1 minute per year of age. (If the child is 8, he should sit for 8 minutes; if he is 10, he should sit for 10 minutes.) If the child has ADD or ADHD, have them sit for 2 minutes per year of age. (If the child has an attention disorder and is 8, he should sit for 16 minutes; if he is 20, he should sit for 10 minutes.) Children should not sit for more than 20 minutes.


Your job is to be a barely-there coach. Use no negatives while your child is strong sitting (In fact, you may have noticed that it is often best to use no negatives in any part of a radish's life).

Also, do not let the child control when he starts. When our nephew does not want to do his strong sitting, he will often fidget or begin furiously scratching his head, his back and legs in one of his routine stalling techniques. I say something like this: "Okay, I know you're not very strong right now, so take some time to get all the movement out of your system, and we'll start in 5 minutes." He will invariably counter with a time of his own, such as: "No. I'm ready now!" I smile sweetly and say, "I'm not. we'll start when I'm ready."

If he appears incapable of doing the entire thing, I allow him to do "weak sitting," but at a 3:1 ratio. So he can sit strong for 20 minutes, or he can do "weak sitting" for an hour. He will most likely opt for strong sitting.

If he simply refuses to complete his strong sitting, I remind him that if he's too weak to do his sitting, he will have to stay in his room and rest until he's strong enough to do it. He has tested me on this and knows it's true, so the skirmish is usually very short.

-- Michelle



Last Modified on: Saturday, August 08, 2009


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