When you adopt a child, your hope is always that the child will fully integrate with your family, bonding and becoming one of your own. Unfortunately, many adopted children experience problems with attachment, often as a result of not having the opportunity to bond with a stable and significant caregiver.
Some of the Characteristics of Attachment Disorder
Though every child manifests attachment disorder in different ways, there are some common types of behaviors that are typically indicative of an attachment problem:
- With younger children, destructive acts may signal a lack of attachment. Your child may see no cause and effect between the destruction of a toy and the loss of a toy. A small child may not understand the components of a healthy relationship, such as hugs, acts of kindness or compassion, or sharing. A child may be unwilling to make eye contact, or may be demanding or clingy.
- As children with attachment issues age, they tend to develop behaviors that benefit them at the expense of meaningful relationships. They may engage in stealing or lying, or may develop the ability to turn a charm off and on. They may also start to exhibit controlling or manipulative behavior with siblings or playmates. They seldom show remorse for their actions, and tend to make the same mistakes over and over. Additionally, they rarely, if ever, seek comfort when they have been hurt or are afraid.
Some Strategies for Parenting a Child with Attachment Issues
The most important thing to understand when living with and parenting a child with attachment issues is that there are no short-term solutions, no quick fixes. You need to have realistic expectations, and you need to expect that it will take a long time for the bond to develop, if it ever does. In most instances, with time, patience and hard work, attachment disorders can be healed. There will be times when it feels like no progress is being made. Those are the times you have to maintain a positive focus and keep moving forward.
- Love is key—With small children, who don’t have verbal skills, hug them and physically express love and affection as often as possible, even if there’s little or no response or the response is negative.
- Use humor and express joy as much as possible—Laughter is good medicine, and it’s always beneficial to show your child what it’s like to be joyful. In addition to injecting joy and laughter into your work with your child, find external sources of joy and laughter, so that you can stay emotionally and physically healthy.
- Be patient and find ways to minimize your stress—Your child will demand a lot of your time. Give up other activities if they only serve to increase your stress level.
- Seek support whenever you need it—Build a network of friends, family members and professionals who can guide you through the difficult times.
Adoption Attorneys in New Jersey
At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.
Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005. We also provide a free initial consultation in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters.