issues are not the same thing as reactive attachment
disorder. Whenever a child moves to a new home or is
confronted with a new set of parents, he will grieve for
the loss of the familiar. He will do this even when the
previous environment was abusive. This is normal, and
should be anticipated even when the new home is a major
improvement on the old.
without a diagnosis of attachment disorder, it can take
a year or more for a child who has been removed from one
family to become attached to another. By understanding
this natural resistance to attachment, parents will be
in a better position to ease the transition and to
facilitate bonding than will those who expect it to
happen easily and effortlessly.
issues stem not from any one cause, but result from a
number of influences, as evidenced in our Background and
Causes page. Children with attachment problems are most
often found within the adoption and foster systems,
although a growing number of attachment issues have been
identified among biologically intact families.
to 6 Months
withdrawal and/or frequent screaming
away from all touch
comfort from caregivers
at self-soothing, evidenced by repetitive movement
not corrected, attachment issues at this age can lead
to outbursts of rage, a negative self-identity, as
well as behavioral and learning problems.
to 10 Months
evidenced by rocking
of stranger anxiety
to 18 Months
in exploring the world
behavior as an outlet for frustration
to 24 Months
integrating dependence and independence
with transitions or sudden changes
these attachment issues are not addressed, separation
anxiety can linger, and become a problem when the child
enters his school years. Attachment problems at this age
also sensitize a child to frustration and failure which
results in strong anxiety, anger, and poor self esteem.
to 36 Months
to cope with changing situations
attachment issues continue after the child begins
elementary school, they are likely to intensify and in
some cases escalate to an attachment disorder. Children
with attachment disorder distrust authority figures,
whom they see as exploitive, cruel, and unpredictable.
Their own self image is one of a defective victim of
life, and they outwardly accept no responsibility for
anything, even while inwardly blaming themselves for
everything bad that happens.
is little satisfaction in mastering anything unless it
is seen as having survival value. Social skills may be
limited, although they tend to master the art of
manipulation. People, even parents and caregivers, are
seen as interchangeable sources of getting what they
want. Attachment disordered children bring enormous
stress on all family members.
attachment issues can have severe consequences, there is
hope. As you might expect, the younger the child is when
he begins appropriate therapy, the better the chances of
a positive result.