RadKid.Org: Reactive Attachment Disorder

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Reactive Attachment Disorder: Eye Contact

A common characteristic of children with reactive attachment disorder is that they have trouble making appropriate eye contact with adult caregivers. Interestingly, they might be able to make good eye contact with peers or with strangers, and the RAD child will usually make excellent eye contact while he is lying to you, or trying to maneuver you.

Eye contact is a powerful tool. Demand it of your child, and use it whenever you are with him. It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and it is helpful to consider this to be true in regards to Baby eyesyour child. Eye contact is not simply looking at your child. You should strive to look into his soul with eyes that are rested, loving, and powerful. Loving yet powerful eyes send a message to the child that he is safe, and that he is okay. In order to break through the wall that the RAD kid has built up around his heart this message will have to be repeated over and over, until well after he is healed.

As many of those who have parented a RAD kid know, eye contact can be a powerful expression of love, and it can also be a weapon. Be aware of how you use it. Hard, angry eyes will do more harm than good. Never forget that this is what he does in an effort to push you away.

Eye contact should not be in only one direction. Insist that your child make eye contact with you whenever he is speaking to you and when you are speaking to him. This may be a problem for the RAD child, but it can also be thought of as a good opportunity to practice.

Last Modified on: Saturday, August 08, 2009

When you speak to your child or when he wants to speak to you, you should expect him to come to you and make eye contact. Don?t let him get away with calling to you from another room. When he has trouble doing this, you should have him practice. Have him go to his room to await a call. When he gets to his room, call him gently. When he responds, have him speak to you while making eye contact. Practice this until he does it correctly, using positive reinforcement and a good degree of enthusiasm.

When your child speaks to you, demand that he make eye contact before acknowledging anything that he has said. Meet his eyes with a smile in yours, and don?t permit yourself to be distracted by anything else.

Position is also important. Although it is not always possible or practical, it is better to have your child looking up at you. While normal children are comforted by a loving parent kneeling down at their level, children with attachment proThe not so trusting eyes of a hurt child.blems feel safer when the adult comes from a position of power.

Don?t force your child to look into your eyes when they (your eyes) are angry or frustrated. While that may be how you feel much of the time, that?s not the message you want to send. Don?t expect a child to maintain eye contact with you when you have lost control, as this will simply undo the very things you are trying to accomplish.



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