What it’s like being the sibling of a child with RAD

“It’s like living in a prison. We can’t go anywhere. All doors are locked. Alarms everywhere. We can’t have friends over. Stuff goes missing. We’ve all had black eyes, split lips and bite marks…we’re the ones who suffer.”

– Grace, 14, on living with a sibling with RAD

Grace’s experience is not uncommon for siblings of children who fall into the moderate to severe range of reactive attachment disorder (RAD). The dysregulation and other challenges of RAD restrict family activities, cause stress and chaos, and require a disproportionate amount of parental attention and energy. Siblings are too often the overlooked victims of the disorder.


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It’s so important that we as parents recognize the impact of secondary trauma on our other children and do what we can to help them thrive and heal. Here’s just a few of their profound words:

“It was depressing and exhausting. I was never allowed to have fun.”  – Michael, 10, who has been in therapy for the last two years.

“Sometimes I feel like no one can see me because my mom and dad give [my sister with RAD] constant attention.” – Honor, 6, who after having to help out with her RAD sister says she never wants to have children.

“Mommy, I am scared. She hurts me.” – Susie, 6

Please read the full post to hear what siblings of kids with RAD are saying about living in fear, how they’re internalizing disfunction, and feel they’ve lost their childhood.

What it’s like for kids living with a sibling who has reactive attachment disorder

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