When reading below, keep in mind the
following statement as it is the driving force of all attachment issues:
The fear in the child is so great that the child will not be able to
attach. The child's primary systems are working to survive,
thereby making attaching to someone a low priority. Survival is
the priority. Alleviate the fear and the child will be able to
An attachment-challenged child
lives with unconscious fears that become the driving force behind
varying degrees of negative and often illogical, irrational behaviors.
Their greatest need is to feel safe.
An attachment disorder is a mental and emotional
condition occurring in the first two years of life that causes a child
not to attach, to bond, or to trust his primary caretaker.
attachment disorders have trouble trusting others. Trusting means to
love--and loving hurts. They have been hurt too deeply. Loving must be
done on their terms so that they will not be hurt again. They attempt to
control everyone and everything in their world. No one gets into their
world, past their barriers, without proving that they are truly
"Unattached children...have an
uncanny ability to appear attractive, bright, loving...helpless,
hopeless, lost...or promising, creative, and intelligent, as may suit
their needs at the time. Therefore, strangers, helpful neighbors, even
therapists, often see the parents as the problem and believe the
winsome child is 'beautiful'. . ." (Foster Cline, 1979)
Adoptive parents wonder why? "I'm not the
one that hurt him. I am trying to give him love."
To understand the "why", we must look at
the child's life, especially the first two years.
CAUSES OF ATTACHMENT DISORDER
Any of the following
factors, especially occurring to a child during their first two years of
life, puts a child at high risk of developing an attachment disorder:
- Maternal drug and/or alcohol use
- Premature birth
- Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
- Sudden separation from primary
caretaker (i.e. illness or death of mother or chronic illness or
hospitalization of child)
- Undiagnosed and/or painful illness (i.e. colic
or chronic ear infections)
- Frequent moves or placements
- Inconsistent or inadequate daycare
- Chronic maternal depression
- Teenage mothers with poor parenting skills
- Drug addicted infant
This is not a diagnostic
tool. If you think your child has an attachment disorder, contact an
attachment therapist for an evaluation.
Taken from a
pamphlet--"Parents for Attachment"
Understanding the causes of attachment disorder, helps us to understand
why adopted and foster children would have a high propensity towards
attachment difficulties. Generally, the adopted/foster child has covered
many of those categories in his short life.
can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness."
"It takes both rain and
sunshine to make a rainbow."