Attachment disorder

From ArticleWorld

During the first two to three years of a child’s life, an attachment is formed usually between the mother and child that forms the basis of emotional health and enables that child to develop a healthy personality. Should something disrupt the forming of that attachment, there are strategies which can be followed in order to encourage its development at a later stage. If, however, a healthy attachment does not develop at all, then a troubled personality is formed due to what psychologists call an attachment disorder.

Such is the importance of attachment that it is considered crucial in the development of a conscience, the ability to control emotions and even for healthy brain development. Unfortunately, there are many instances where an emotional attachment does not grow between a very young child and its main care-giver such as adoption after a certain age, ill health resulting in prolonged hospital stays or a dysfunctional family situation which is abusive or neglectful. In these cases, where there should be trust there is mistrust and where there should be confidence there is a lack of self esteem.

Behavioural problems

A child suffering from an attachment disorder may try to be charming but in a way that is false and they may show inappropriate affection to strangers. Cruelty to animals is a disturbing symptom as well as lacking empathy and a conscience. Sleep disturbances, eating disorders and abnormal speech patterns are further manifestations of the problem.

Strategies to overcome the problem

Attachment is a serious issue for adoptive parents to take into consideration especially if the child is not a newborn. There are things they can do to forge a strong bond but it may take up to three years before the child really believes in the relationship on a deep profound level and not just a superficial one.

Steps which can be taken include creating a connection with the child even if he or she is behaving unacceptably. Bad behaviour is a test during which it is more important to show love than discipline; that can come later. Enunciating what the child is feeling while they are feeling it shows that you understand what they are going through at a time when they are not even aware of why they are behaving in a certain way. Keeping them close at a time when they are behaving badly works better than isolating them.