My Feedback For Others After Parenting My Son With Attachment Disorders
It is National Adoption Month, a time that is used to bring awareness to the struggles and successes associated with adopting a child. Along with adoption comes awareness of another difficult consequence that can come hand in hand with that topic: attachment disorder.
When They Just Don’t Bond
This is a very personal issue for me. I tried to learn how to be a dad from my own father. When I learned that my son had an attachment disorder, I wasn’t sure how to apply those lessons he had given me to my own situation. Like so many children who also suffer from similar conditions, he has always had difficulty connecting with my wife and myself.
Where most young children love to cuddle and hug, my son couldn’t stand being touched. Where most infants are soothed by the bouncing of a car or the roll of a stroller, my son became restless and agitated.
I read a story from a journalist who wrote a book on her experience with her daughter, Julia. Adopted from a Siberian orphanage, the neglect Julia faced from the time of birth led to her shying away from human contact as young as 18 months.
So much of what the author described was similar to what I had seen in my child. The disruptive behavior, the aversion to affection, the lack of eye contact, the inability to cooperate with others, the acting out…I have gone through it all with my precious boy.
What Causes Attachment Disorders?
Attachment disorders are poorly understood and it isn’t known why some children have symptoms and others do not. However, what we do know is that an attachment disorder is formed when a child has not had consistent, loving interaction with a caregiver through their developmental years.
For some, this means they were abandoned by their parents. For others, they were isolated from a consistent caregiver, such as those in orphanages around the world, or foster care locally. Abuse and extreme trauma can also become factors in developing these conditions.
What I Have To Say To Struggling Parents
It gets better. Not right away and it can be a frustrating, even terrifying process. But with firm, consistent love, affection and patience your child will begin to bond with you and others. Being a good parent and expressing your feelings to your child will go a long way into allowing them to heal from their past trauma, whatever it may be.
Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn
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