Controlled, Creative Chaos


Chaos has taken over our home.

Living with a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder means explosive chaos constantly.

Recently we began seeing a new therapist (Whom I LOVE!) and she has given me a new insight into the chaos that has taken over my life.

At our last session I shared with her our latest crisis situation…

an evening of explosive tantrums, physical and verbal attacks that happened while I was driving, that resulted in this:

A torn tire, a crumpled rim, a broken bumper...*sigh*

A torn tire, a crumpled rim, a broken bumper…*sigh*

A bone jarring crash on the driveway,

a car stuck on the bolder that took hours to tow off,

$500.00 worth of damage,

children in tears.


She asked what Ozzie’s reaction was to the accident. I told her that he just smiled. He loved it. He wanted an emotional explosion and he got it…

He was the creator of chaos.

This story led to an insightful discussion as she explained why he creates chaos and why the chaos is necessary.

Kids who come from an abusive situations have a different brain chemistry than a child who has never lived in the turbulent, high stress environment of an abusive home. As a result they become accustomed, from a very young age, to a constant surge of adrenaline as they live in “fight or flight mode,” never knowing when the next strike will come.

She explained that the result of this is often children who NEED a constant surge of adrenaline to feel calm…normal…at peace. For some children the result is a fearless, risk taking, physical child who “self medicates” the need for the adrenaline rush by the choices they make…

For example: Tyler, who spends his days doing wheelies on his bike and flips off the trampoline.

“But,” she explained, “for a child like Ozzie who is not a risk taker or physical, he gets his adrenaline surge by creating emotional chaos.” (Like the car accident)

She suggested that we might see fewer emotionally charged tantrums if we find ways to feed that need for adrenaline in a healthy way. Ozzie NEEDS the chaos. He needs that surge of energy…the noise…the yelling…the movement,

so our job is to find ways to meet that need in a healthy, happy, PARENT LED way. We decided to give it a try, and family night seemed like the perfect opportunity.

So Monday night we declared war in our first ever,

“McCleery Indoor Nerf Battle!”

It was a blast!

We began with a gathering of weapons and ammunition:


Pick your weapon:


Then teams were chosen. Big kids vs little boys and parents:



Rules were established and bases were chosen:


Let the battle commence!


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The result was amazing. Everyone had a blast and the behaviors that followed for the next two days were astounding. I think our therapist is on to something!

The night ended with a treat. Candy guns:


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