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The Root of Reactive Attachment Disorders is “Trauma, Trauma, Trauma!” according to B. Bryan Post, PhD, LCSW
Many children are have been diagnosed with having a reactive attachment disorder. These children turn to negative behavior to help them cope with emotional issues. Some of their negative behavior may include:
- Bed wetting
- Setting fires
- Complete defiance
- Chronic lying
- Alcohol addiction
- Drug abuse
- Poor family relationships
Getting diagnosed gives parents some relief. Finally getting a label for the troubling behavior their children exhibits gives parents a starting point for getting help for their kids. But, without the right professional help, attachment disorders can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, resentment and blame for parents.
But, parents must come to the realization that these children have often experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. Children of all ages can experience traumatic events that may seem trivial to adults. These events are overwhelming to children, causing them to react negatively. This is the disturbed child’s way of crying out for help. Some of the events in life that can cause trauma in children are:
- Loss of one or both parents or other caregivers
- Placement in the foster care system
- The adoption process
- Automobile accidents
- Parental depression
- Parental alcohol or drug abuse
- Prolonged physical illness
- Moving frequently
- Divorce or separation of parents
At The Family Compass, we understand that traumatic events can be both unpredictable and overwhelming for children. They must have the opportunity to grieve, scream, talk, cry and mourn in order to heal properly. If not, the event can have a negative impact on them that can last the rest of their lives.
These traumatic events can also have a negative impact on the psychological system responsible for helping them form lifelong relationships with others, handle stress and respond to fear appropriately. This psychological system is called the regulatory system. When a child’s regulatory system becomes impaired, the child is left in a great state of emotional fear. This causes the child to become overwhelmed very easily with simple, everyday life experiences. This creates a great fear of becoming attached, making it very challenging to have healthy relationships with others.
The Influence of Early Relationships
The earliest relationships in our lives as children create blueprints for the way we handle relationships in the future. According to the father of attachment theory, John Bowlby, the relationships we have within the first three years of our lives are the most influential.
Our interactions with others are directly influenced by the things we’ve experienced in our past. When it comes to traumatic experiences for children, many of these traumas are related to human relationships in their lives. Those who have suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of someone they loved have a hard time trusting after the trauma has occurred.
If traumatized children never receive the emotional and psychological help they need to heal and grow, they will someday instill their fears in their own children. In time, they too will suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder. The only way to break this continuous cycle is to get your children the therapeutic care they need to turn their trauma into a learning experience.
The Role Stress Plays in the Life of a Child
Stress is a natural emotion that everyone must deal with sometimes. Stress makes us stronger when dealt with properly. But, when it becomes continuous and overwhelming, it can damage relationships. Instead of considering the situation to be stressful, one can begin to consider the world itself to be stressful. In children, this can cause them to become distrustful of everyone in the world. In order to compensate, many will resort to bullying other children, killing animals, setting fires, manipulation, lying, cheating, stealing, drugs and alcohol.
When these feelings get too overwhelming, children with Reactive Attachment Disorder will begin to stop trusting their own family and friends. This this parents will start to notice behavioral issues and disciplinary problems. Many parents tend to take these behaviors personally. But, it’s not your fault, nor is it your child’s fault.
Children don’t always know how to communicate their feelings properly. So, they may use negative behavior to communicate feelings of depression and anxiety. This negative behavior will impact their lives, the lives of their parents and everyone else around them. They need to get help early in life so they can learn to establish positive relationships. But, most parents simply don’t understand how to help children with Reactive Attachment Disorders. That’s when it’s best to seek out professional help so that a cycle isn’t created for future generations.
Get Help for Reactive Attachment Disorders
If your child is suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, The Family Compass can help. We will assess your family’s situation to help you choose the right therapeutic method for you and your troubled child. We will help you find the best therapists, therapeutic programs and rehabilitation centers in your local area. Let us help you make an informed decision for your child’s future. Contact The Family Compass by sending us an email, or call us toll-free at 866-490-3666. We’re available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
To learn more about attachment disorders and the role of stress in a child’s life, Visit http://www.postfamilysystem.com and http://www.parentingtheadoptedchild.com . Bryan Post PhD, LCSW is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of children and families struggling with issues related to trauma induced Reactive Attachment Disorders.
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For More Information:
Contact your local Mental Health Association, community mental health center, or:
National Mental Health Association 2001 N. Beauregard Street, 12th Floor Alexandria, VA 22311 Phone 703/684-7722 Fax 703/684-5968
Mental Health Resource Center 800/969-NMHA TTY Line 800/433-5959
National Clearinghouse on Teenage Reactive Attachment Disorders Resources and Treatment Phone: 800-729-6686http://dasis3.samhsa.gov/
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