Attachment is the deep connection established between a child and caregiver that profoundly affects your child's development and ability to express emotions and develop relationships. If you are the parent (or teacher) of a child with an attachment disorder, you may be exhausted from trying to connect with your child.
Attachment is a reciprocal process by which an emotional connection develops between an infant and his/her primary caretaker. It influences the child's physical, cognitive, and psychological development.
It becomes the basis for development of basic trust or mistrust, and shapes how the child will relate to the world, learn, and form relationships throughout life.
Healthy attachment occurs when the infant experiences a primary caretaker as consistently providing emotional essentials such as touch, movement, eye contact and smiles, in addition to the basic necessities -- food, shelter, and clothing.
If this process is disrupted, the child may not develop the secure base necessary to support all future healthy development. Factors which may impair healthy attachment include: multiple caretakers, invasive or painful medical procedures, hospitalization, abuse, poor prenatal care, prenatal alcohol or drug exposure, and neurological problems.
Children with attachment disturbance often project an image of self-sufficiency and charm while masking inner feelings of insecurity and self hate. Infantile fear, hurt and anger are expressed in disturbing behaviors that serve to keep caretakers at a distance and perpetuate the child's belief that s/he is unlovable.
These children have difficulty giving and receiving affection on their parents' terms, are overly demanding and clingy, and may annoy parents with endless chatter. They attempt to control attention in negative ways.
Additional behaviors may include: poor eye contact, abnormal eating patterns, poor impulse control, poor conscience development, chronic "crazy" lying, stealing, destructiveness to self, others, and property, cruelty to animals and preoccupation with fire, blood, and gore.
A child with insecure attachment or an attachment disorder lacks the skills for building meaningful relationships.
So why do some children develop attachment disorders while others don’t? The answer has to do with the attachment process, which relies on the interaction of both parent and child.
Attachment disorders are the result of negative experiences in this early relationship. If young children feel repeatedly abandoned, isolated, powerless, or uncared for—for whatever reason—they will learn that they can’t depend on others and the world is a dangerous and frightening place.
COMMON CAUSES OF ATTACHMENT PROBLEMS (Highest risk if these occur in first two years of life) Sudden or traumatic separation from primary caretaker (through death, illness hospitalization of caretaker, or removal of child) Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse Neglect (of physical or emotional needs) Illness or pain which cannot be alleviated by caretaker
Frequent moves and/or placements Inconsistent or inadequate care at home or in day care (care must include holding, talking, nurturing, as well as meeting basic physical needs) Chronic depression of primary caretaker Neurological problem in child which interferes with perception of or ability to receive nurturing. (i.e. babies exposed to crack cocaine In-utero)
Reactive attachment disorder and other attachment problems occur when children have been unable to consistently connect with a parent or primary caregiver. This can happen for many reasons: A baby cries and no one responds or offers comfort. A baby is hungry or wet, and they aren’t attended to for hours. No one looks at, talks to, or smiles at the baby, so the baby feels alone. A young child gets attention only by acting out or displaying other extreme behaviors. A young child or baby is mistreated or abused.
Sometimes the child’s needs are met and sometimes they aren’t. The child never knows what to expect. The infant or young child is hospitalized or separated from his or her parents. A baby or young child is moved from one caregiver to another (can be the result of adoption, foster care, or the loss of a parent). The parent is emotionally unavailable because of depression, an illness, or a substance abuse problem.
BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH PROBLEMATIC ATTACHMENT A. Unable to engage in satisfying reciprocal relationship: 1. Superficially engaging, charming (not genuine) 2. Lack of eye contact 3. clingy
4. Lack of ability to give and receive affection on parents' terms (not cuddly) 5. Inappropriately demanding and clingy 6. Persistent nonsense questions and incessant chatter 7. Poor peer relationships 8. Low self esteem 9. Extreme control problems - may attempt to control overtly, or in sneaky ways
B. Poor cause and effect thinking: 10. Difficulty learning from mistakes 11. Learning problems - disabilities, delays 12. Poor impulse control C. Emotional development disturbed: child shows traits of young child in "oral stage" 13. Abnormal speech patterns 14. Abnormal eating patterns
D. Infantile fear and rage. Poor conscience development. 15. Chronic "crazy" lying 16. Stealing 17. Destructive to self, others, property 18. Cruel to animals 19. Preoccupied with fire, blood, and gore
E. "Negative attachment cycle" in family 1. Child engages in negative behaviors which can't be ignored 2. Parent reacts with strong emotion, creating intense but unsatisfying connection 3. Both parent and child distance and connection is severed
Signs and symptoms of insecure attachment in infants: Avoids eye contact Doesn’t smile Doesn’t reach out to be picked up Rejects your efforts to calm, soothe, and connect Doesn’t seem to notice or care when you leave them alone Cries inconsolably Doesn’t coo or make sounds Doesn’t follow you with his or her eyes Isn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toys Spend a lot of time rocking or comforting themselves
Common signs and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder An aversion to touch and physical affection. Children with reactive attachment disorder often flinch, laugh, or even say “Ouch” when touched. Rather than producing positive feelings, touch and affection are perceived as a threat. Control issues. Most children with reactive attachment disorder go to great lengths to remain in control and avoid feeling helpless. They are often disobedient, defiant, and argumentative.
Anger problems. Anger may be expressed directly, in tantrums or acting out, or through manipulative, passive- aggressive behavior. Children with reactive attachment disorder may hide their anger in socially acceptable actions, like giving a high five that hurts or hugging someone too hard.
Difficulty showing genuine care and affection. For example, children with reactive attachment disorder may act inappropriately affectionate with strangers while displaying little or no affection towards their parents.
An underdeveloped conscience. Children with reactive attachment disorder may act like they don’t have a conscience and fail to show guilt, regret, or remorse after behaving badly.
Tips for parenting a child with reactive attachment disorder or insecure attachment Have realistic expectations. Helping your child with an attachment disorder may be a long road. Focus on making small steps forward and celebrate every sign of success.
Patience is essential. The process may not be as rapid as you'd like, and you can expect bumps along the way. But by remaining patient and focusing on small improvements, you create an atmosphere of safety for your child.
Foster a sense of humor and joy. Joy and humor go a long way toward repairing attachment problems and energizing you even in the midst of hard work. Find at least a couple of people or activities that help you laugh and feel good.
Take care of yourself and manage stress. Reduce other demands on your time and make time for yourself. Rest, good nutrition, and parenting breaks help you relax and recharge your batteries so you can give your attention to your child.manage stress.
Find support and ask for help. Rely on friends, family, community resources, and respite care (if available). Try to ask for help before you really need it to avoid getting stressed to breaking point. You may also want to consider joining a support group for parents.
Stay positive and hopeful. Be sensitive to the fact that children pick up on feelings. If they sense you’re discouraged, it will be discouraging to them. When you are feeling down, turn to others for reassurance.
Repairing reactive attachment disorder: Tips for making your child feel safe and secure Safety is the core issue for children with reactive attachment disorder and other attachment problems. They are distant and distrustful because they feel unsafe in the world. They keep their guard up to protect themselves, but it also prevents them from accepting love and support.
So before anything else, it is essential to build up your child’s sense of security. You can accomplish this by establishing clear expectations and rules of behavior, and by responding consistently so your child knows what to expect when he or she acts a certain way and—even more importantly—knows that no matter what happens, you can be counted on.
Set limits and boundaries. Consistent, loving boundaries make the world seem more predictable and less scary to children with attachment problems such as reactive attachment disorder. It’s important that they understand what behavior is expected of them, what is and isn’t acceptable, and what the consequences will be if they disregard the rules. This also teaches them that they have more control over what happens to them than they think.
Take charge, yet remain calm when your child is upset or misbehaving. Remember that “bad” behavior means that your child doesn’t know how to handle what he or she is feeling and needs your help. By staying calm, you show your child that the feeling is manageable. If he or she is being purposefully defiant, follow through with the pre-established consequences in a cool, matter-of-fact manner. But never discipline a child with an attachment disorder when you’re in an emotionally-charged state.
Be immediately available to reconnect following a conflict. After a conflict or tantrum where you’ve had to discipline your child, be ready to reconnect as soon as he or she is ready. This reinforces your consistency and love, and will help your child develop a trust that you’ll be there through thick and thin.
Own up to mistakes and initiate repair. When you let frustration or anger get the best of you or you do something you realize is insensitive, quickly address the mistake. Your willingness to take responsibility and make amends can strengthen the attachment bond. Children with reactive attachment disorder or other attachment problems need to learn that although they may not be perfect, they will be loved, no matter what.
Try to maintain predictable routines and schedules. A child with an attachment disorder won’t instinctively rely on loved ones, and may feel threatened by transition and inconsistency—for example when traveling or during school vacations. A familiar routine or schedule can provide comfort during times of change.
INTERVENTIONS: WHAT DOESN'T WORK Traditional problem solving questions such as: What happened? What was your part in it? What could you have done differently? Attachment Disorder children will learn to spin off the "desired answers", but they will be meaningless answers. The time spent on this exercise will be wasted time.
Vague praise, such as "you are handling things well today" is generally seen by the child as a manipulative control strategy on the adult's part. In addition, overt praise for expected basic behavior such as sitting in one's desk is likely to provoke an oppositional switch into the undesired behavior.
Conventional behavior management plans / level systems: Attachment Disorder children will see a behavior management plan, not as a way to change behavior, but as simply one more thing to learn "how to work" for their own purposes. AD children may even use behavior management systems as bait to draw the adults into useless discussions about how to sustain progress. The end result can be that it is the teacher's behavior, rather than the child's, that ends up getting "managed".
Consistent zero tolerance stances run a high risk of dragging the teacher into a cycle of escalating misbehavior followed by increasingly severe consequences. Zero tolerance also does not allow the teacher sufficient creative flexibility to approach the AD child in a useful way that the AD child could not predict.
Believing the child's tales about horrendous treatment at home by parents and offering support and sympathy in an effort to "compensate". In the case of an AD child, this is probably the worst possible thing an educational professional could do.
Challenging the Attachment Disorder child's perspective with "objective evidence" in order to persuade her that her thinking is somehow incorrect. This approach assumes that the teacher and child share a common view of "reality"- not true. The teacher's view will make little or no sense to the AD child. In fact, the AD child is apt to see this approach as a manipulative attempt on the teacher's part to set the child up in some way.
Setting the parents up to be the "heavies" by leaving it to parents and home to impose consequences for school infractions or work not done. Teachers taking AD children's behavior or statements personally. This usually takes some practice as AD children are skilled at discovering adults' tender spots and going after them.
Reacting emotionally to AD children's behavior. This only reinforces the AD child's sense of being in control of the adult's emotions ( a goal they generally pursue). This really takes some practice as AD children's behavior can be relentless, day in-day out, as any parent can testify.
Looking for THE answer. There is no "The Answer". "The answer" leads to doing the same thing the same way every time. An AD child will have a field day with such an approach.
INTERVENTIONS: WHAT DOES WORK Being somewhat unpredictable on purpose. Such unpredictability is necessary to get past the AD child's vast array of avoidance maneuvers.
Make some rewards absolute and not contingent on anything. This effectively subverts AD children's strong tendency to sabotage themselves and thereby prove to the adults that they can't "make them succeed". (Example: AD child participates in a "fun Friday" activity regardless of their behavior, barring any safety concerns). This approach puts the child's succeeding under the complete control of the teacher.
Drilling in the concept of "choice". Choice is an idea that is often absent in AD children's thinking. It is not simply that they refuse to accept responsibility- the ideas of people making choices and having responsibility literally makes no sense to AD children. They need to have it pointed out to them, matter-of-factly, over and over, that they are making choices all the time. Then discussion can begin to move towards making better vs. worse choices.
Four questions never to ask AD children: Did you...? Why did you...? Do you remember...? What did you say?
AD children can compose eloquent answers to adult questions that mean absolutely nothing. A question to an AD child is too often an invitation to trick an adult. It works much better to phrase statements as guesses and let them react to the guess. (Example: rather than "Did you break your pencil ?" try "I think you broke your pencil to get out of doing your work."). AD children's reactions to guesses will tell you much more than their answers to questions.
Keep praise very concrete and specific and do not connect it to substantive rewards. Use humor to deflect AD children's attempts to be deliberately provocative.
Teachers should follow the parents' lead in matters of behavior management. Parents will almost always have seen behavior far in excess of anything the school will ever see. This gives parents irreplaceable experiential knowledge about working with their child's behavior. The school needs to partner seamlessly with home and parents in order to undercut the AD child's considerable strategic wilyness.
However, school and home should be kept separate in some matters. Incidents at school should be handled at school and not referred to the parents to provide consequences at home in the evening unless this is part of a collaborative plan arrived at beforehand. In general, parents SHOULD NOT be expected to be intimately involved with nightly homework. AD children will simply use "homework" as a stage to play out their attachment related conflicts and everyone loses.
Use of the word "trick" to describe AD children's strategic behavior works better than the more loaded words like "manipulative", "lying", etc.
Become a good observer of AD children's nonverbal responses (facial expressions, body position and movements, eyes, voice tone, etc). These are the most accurate signs of what is going on inside the child. If you listen only to what AD children say, you will go in circles repeatedly, getting nowhere.
Act as historian for the AD child. As AD children live in the moment, they need adults to remind them of past events that have gone successfully to help them maintain more perspective on the present.
Remember: They are not out to get YOU— they are out to get everybody. They can’t always help themselves...some things are just going to happen. They need love, care and attention just like everyone else…they just can’t articulate these needs.
10+C’s on Oct 26 will reinforce some guidelines and framework for working with AD children.
Baby talk timeline: 0-6 months-babies as young as 4 weeks can distinguish between similar syllables like MA and NA, and at 2 months begin to associate certain sounds with certain lip movement. They will start to link up sounds, such as a dog bark to the dog. They’ll cry first, then try to use tongue, lips and palate to make gurgles, oohs and aahs.
Talk to them Sing to them Read to them INTERACT WITH THEM
4-6 MONTHS Random babbling attempts at letters such as g and k, m, w, p and b. Will focus on familiar words such as their name, mommy and daddy. By 4.5 months, may take an interest in their name when used with HI and BYE. At 6 months may understand their name is actually for them.
Talk to them. Use natural language. Don’t consistently “baby talk” but it’s ok to use some baby talk. Be expressive, in their line of sight, and interactive. Keep talking, reading and singing to them. Dance with them.
7-12 Months Child makes repetitions intentionally. Starts to understand gestures. Starts combining words. First words appear near 12 months—ma- ma, da-da, kitty, doggy, cookie, juice, etc.
Talk to them, Show them things, pictures, magazines, read an article to them. Touch and name body parts. Ask questions, even though they can’t answer. Start to understand intonation and language patterns….and your voice. Babble and coo back at them. Silly faces and expressive talking.
13 to 18 months First word is the opening to the dam. Encourage more words. If they make a sound, try to put it in context and make connections with them. Receptive language first, then expressive language comes next.
When reading a book, use expressive language, vary tone of voice for characters and actions, point to objects in books, encourage turning of pages. Singing, try to get them to sing along. Slippery fish, 5 little pumpkins, alligator swamp, abc’s. Use natural language with full sentences.
19-24 months. The dam breaks open. So many attempts at words and sounds. Try to understand THEIR attempts at speech and relate it back to them. 2-4 word sentences very common. Try to elaborate THEIR speech. Try to encourage sentence structure.
Read talk sing dance watch tv TOGETHER Use proper language use complete sentences use imagination. Puppets, phones, dolls, pretend toys, costumes, hard hats, play kitchens, etc.
25-36 months The sky is the limit. Encourage language, answer the why, when, where questions. (sometimes send it back to them). Read familiar books but stop at certain points to see if they can finish the sentences. Correct their language in context. Ex: I goed potty, say “Yes, you did go potty”. They’ll catch on.
Enjoy the language explosion and the independence; Ex: boy do it. An idea flew up my nose. Yes, all these stages are tiring, but when they are talking to you, they are also listening to you. Teenage years they won’t.
Things to think about: Put your fingers in your ears while someone else is saying ABC’s. Periodically pull fingers out and put them back. If child has hearing problem, language might be muddled. Language not learned word by word but in natural language and interactions. Do you…..want…to go…on with the…lecture….like this? Children learn speech patterns early.
Can you draw a guazeevil? Children need to experience language also, not just use it. Children learn things quickly. Careful of language. Mason and Aubrey born. Be interactive with them.
Interventions History: pulled out of classroom 1-1 They’ll get it Not a smart kid Was speech the goal or was language/communication the goal?
Looked at child, family, SES, education level of parents and family, expectations of family and school, what services available. What was the goal? Words, clarity, speech, communication, understanding, in isolation or in complete sentences. Who should do intervention? Parents, teachers, therapists, one-on-one or group therapy, in home, in center or in therapists office?
DAP: Developmentally Appropriate Practice AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication Teaching and training of parents Teaching and training of teachers Use of all techniques Value and use of play
Some tips to encourage language use children: 1, interesting materials, avoid boredom, child and adult chosen activities 2, place some materials in reach, but not all. Use clear bags/containers so child sees them and needs to request them 3, small/inadequate portions: milk, cereal, play dough, etc.
4, Offer choices where appropriate. Books or puzzle, blocks or play dough. Get words, not just gestures. 5, Make child need you. Wind up toy, opening jar, climbing into swing. You know what they want, but let them ASK you. 6, Sabotage familiar activities. Yogurt but no spoon, paper but no markers, ask to color green but only offer red.
Be silly. Tape scissors closed. Put child’s shoe on your foot. Try novel things to encourage interaction and communications. DON’T OVER DO IT.
First, need time to evaluate child/room. Hearing issues Family issues Teacher issues Tired and fatigue Language too high for child’s level Too advanced Too fast a pace
Distractions Too flashy Too much noise Who seated next to Short attention spans Sense of self Teacher conflicts Separation anxiety Hunger
Too high expectation of child/children Seated next to window or door No sense of expectation of teacher Poor planning Understanding of language Teacher speech patterns/accent Too long sitting Using only 1 method of instruction
Scaffolding of material/information Abstract vs. concrete information Goals? Time of day of instruction Does everyone have to follow or do activity? Consequences of not following along
At some time of the day, sit in the child’s seat and take a look around. What do you see? Now, what do you need to change?
Are parents seeing issue/issues at home? If so, has there been an assessment by a pediatrician or an outside agency? Results? Plan? Who carries it out?
Meds? Time table? Meeting times? Family condition? Coordination of services?
Not an easy issue. Long lasting. Tiring. Slow signs of improvement. Keep a diary. Recognize small accomplishments.
DIFFICULTIES WITH TOILET TRAINING or…. They just won’t go? Face it: it’s up to them. Period. Now, what do we do? Age appropriate: usually showing signs at or after 2, and some not showing any interest until 3 or later. Boys usually later than girls.
Are they showing signs of interest or readiness? Pulling at wet diapers Telling you their diaper is wet or messy Telling you they don’t want to wear diapers anymore Expressing an interest in watching YOU potty (not okay for school, okay for home).
Trying to “hold it” until they can make it to bathroom Recognizing what signs are for potty training. Has a dry diaper for 2 hours at a time Showing independence doing various things. Can pull pants up and down
Attempts to verbalize or show you they need to potty Shows embarrassment when had an accident. Shows an interest in sitting on the potty Are parent and teachers all on same page? YES? Now is the time to start.
Get a potty seat or a potty chair. Talk to them about using it. BE CLEAR Get big boy or big girl underwear. Get training pants Start keeping track of wet diaper times, try to catch before that time. Easy clothes to remove when it’s time Both of you sit on potty Have books or small toys ready for the long wait
Patience Games for boys: ping pong balls, cheerios, toilet paper with a target, etc. Girls, little more difficult. Dye in the water when she goes--turns color. Reassurance Remind them (and yourselves) that they will get it.
Look ahead: going shopping, going out to eat, spare clothes, reminders for both of you. Encourage big boy/big girl If bowel movements hard, try bran muffins, spoonfuls of mineral oil, more water in diet, fruits. Encourage going to potty. Tell them when you are going, thus encouraging them to.
Starting too soon exercise in futility. Pressure doesn’t make it easier. Nor does shame. Stresses often times pushes things back: moving, new baby, new jobs, visitors, new school, etc. Unrealistic expectations not good. Stressing “accidents”.
Check with pediatrician if blood in stool or pee, very runny poops, hard poops consistently, painful urinations (URI), constipation, still wet diapers during day at age 4 or later, strange smelly diapers or urine.
Don’t: Shame Have them wash sheets or underwear Battle them Compare your child to another child Blame yourself or them Punish Push Get angry Don’t punish for accidents
Do: Encourage. Talk. Model. Reassure. Be patient. Show love and acceptance, not just talk. Be careful with rewards. Give it time.
Going to happen Patience, takes time Reassure, again. Some continue until 8 years old or later. Fear of dark, insecurity, attention getting, heavy sleepers, too much liquids at night, didn’t empty bladder before bed, Nightmares.
Not a problem showing concern. Work on solutions together. Realize for some it’s out of their control. Not doing it to “get you”. Persisting, check with pediatrician.
You will get through it. Once you’ve got this mastered… Something else will take its place.
Typically, most everyone has some type of fear. Loud noises Dogs or cats or spiders or snakes Heights Dark Politicians Death Losing their jobs
Most kids grow out of fear, and some new fears replace old fears. Monsters--not being liked Dark---being alone Thunderstorms—cancer Excessive fears are different Sometimes transform into phobias
How to help with excessive fearfulness: Try to find out what the fear is, and, if possible, what started the fear. Mason and tess, fear of heights. Don’t’ dismiss fear, and don’t over hype it. Talk about it calmly. Deal with it rationally, and be supportive.
Once fear is known or understood, try to explain how fear can be overcome. DON’T FORCE THEM INTO FEARFUL SITUATION. Some fearfulness will never come into play. alliumphobia: fear of garlic gametophobia, gamophobia: An exaggerated fear of being married
Other fears will. Steps to deal with them. Objectively talking about them. Once spoken aloud, some fears become so silly sounding they diminish in capacity. Let them know you are with them and will help them through it. Set limits on what you will allow.
Clarify the fear they are talking about. Put it into perspective, and how to deal with the fear If it comes into play. Fear of dogs, give some concrete examples and rules to follow. Fear of spiders, unless you are a fly, ladybug, aphid, etc, there isn’t much of a concern. If in countries with poisonous spiders, explain how to protect self.
Some want to avoid fears at all cost. Woman hit by car crossing street. Vowed never to happen again. Lives in same 1 square block for remainder of her life.
If able to, try to expose them to their fear. Small steps, videos, pictures, true stories can help diminish the fear or put it into perspective.
Practice breathing techniques (with older children). Trying to calm them down may be necessary even when talking about fear. Hugs may be necessary, or hand on shoulder, etc. Careful not to cross or blur lines.
Keep in contact with other staff and parents. Don’t get pulled into the fear, or allow fear to be transferred to you. Don’t allow your fears to overtake you, thus potentially transferring them onto the children. How you react to your own fears could influence how a child reacts to theirs. Fear of the dark, Fear of water. Germs
Sometimes home/school life can contribute to fears. Keep in touch with parents and lines of communication open. Should fears be inhibiting a child’s life, outside help should be consulted.
Defiance: disobedient, insolence, rebelliousness, non-cooperation. Rigid: unbending, inflexible, refusing to change, stiff, unyielding. JUST WHAT WE WANT, RIGHT?
Some children show these symptoms in early childhood. Not wanting to be held or touched, don’t comfort easy, independent at early age, don’t want assistance. Parents (and teachers) sometimes contribute to this. Keep at them, forcing themselves on child’s play, directing every movement, taking charge of many activities and being unyielding themselves.
Parents and teachers very rule oriented. You’re not going to tell me what to do. My way or the highway. No kid of mine is going to talk to me that way. If anything, our responses are their responses.
They don’t want to be told what to do all the time. They want a little say in what is happening. They want some choices. They want to figure out their world. They want to be listened to. Are we helping or hurting them? Are we helping or hurting ourselves?
Just as we want them to be adaptable and accepting of OUR instructions, are we being adaptable and accepting of THEIR instructions and thoughts?
Understand that the defiant or rigid child really needs you, your love, your time, your comfort and your security. THEY JUST CAN’T TELL YOU THEY NEED THAT.
So, knowing the battles ahead, what do we need to do?
Yes, rules need to be in place, but how rigid do our rules need to be? Does the bed need to be made exactly the way we want? Does the homework need to be in exactly the same style as we want? Do the toys need to be precisely on the shelf every time? Do they need to pick up every toy?
A structure needs to be in place, and the structure needs to be understood by all. But who’s structure takes precedence? Can we work out a deal? How about if we… Maybe we should… What if we tried…
Communication is the key. Parents (teachers) communicate together. Then communicate to the child. Then make sure everyone agrees and is on board. Put it in writing if need be. Then not my word against yours. Be prepared to be flexible.
After communication, then patience. Not going to change overnight. Still going to be struggles. Still need flexibility and adaptability. Still need to be open.
Still need to keep ourselves in check. Still need to control emotions. Yelling begets yelling. Anger means out of control Out of control could lead to physical actions and/or words said that can’t be taken back.
After patience comes persistence. If we say we are going to do something, then we need to follow through. Consequences need to be appropriate, and understood BEFOREHAND. Don’t go to work, don’t have a job.
Where does recognition fit in? Recognize small steps Recognize accomplishments Recognize decent actions, behaviors and actions. Recognize attempts at “being good”.
Recognize when the child tries to let you into their space. Recognize when they try to talk with you. Recognize how hard it is for them to trust you, which is really what they want. Recognize that their behaviors are not against you, they are against EVERYONE.
Take a back seat sometimes. Let them be in charge, even if you know it won’t work. (except in danger situations). Let them ask you for help, or, just let them know you’re here if they need you, and back off a bit. Stay present, but off to the sides.
Then, with communication, patience, persistence, comes acknowledgement and congratulations. No need of flowery, over-the-top praise, or excessive rewards. Sometimes just a heartfelt congrats, a pat on the back (if allowed), a simple hug, or a handshake can be welcomed, and appreciated…and felt
And take the time to realize that all those small steps, both forward and backward, do lead to growth.
But if these steps, and the time and concentrated effort are not producing results, outside help needs to be tapped. Just because we ask for help does not mean we (as teachers or parents) are failures, it doesn’t mean our children are failures, it doesn’t mean our programs are failures.
Just as we want the child to recognize what is happening and how to make it better, it means we recognize our own limits and need outside assistance to HELP the situation and try to keep it positive.
How can we expect them to try to work on the issues if we refuse to see we aren’t perfect?
Exerts taken from: Baby Talk: A month-by-month timeline, by Heather Millar, Attachment & Reactive Attachment Disorders, Warning Signs, Symptoms, Treatment & Hope for Children with Insecure Attachment, Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Joanna Saisan, MSW, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: September 2012. What Is Attachment?, By Kathleen G. Moss, LCSW, ACSW. Differences Between Attachment Therapy and Traditional Therapy, by Arleta James, MA