As a parent, having a child with reactive attachment disorder can be frustrating and disheartening, as you want so much for your child to show affection towards you. It is often difficult for children with reactive attachment disorder to be diagnosed because signs and symptoms are very similar to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When the diagnosis of this attachment disorder is made, it is important for parents to understand that they play a huge role in the treatment for their child and they are not alone. Even after months or years of therapy, there still may be battles.

Below is a list of common reminders to parents with children with Reactive Attachment Disorder

  • Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder present very differently outside the home. Others often described them as “charming” and “delightful” when things in the home are decidedly different. This dichotomy can further isolate parents as they worry that others won’t believe them if they share what the child is like at home.
  • Often, the child may have poor boundaries and therefore are socially indiscriminate. A stranger may see the child as “friendly” and “cute” but this may actually be a case of stranger attachment, as children with RAD are more likely to be affectionate towards strangers than towards their parents. Stranger affection can further damage the child’s attachment to their parents.
  • It is common for parents to try to replace the love for their children for what is missing which can make matters even more difficult for the parent.
  • Parents of Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder carry tremendous guilt. It is a heavy burden to carry the weight of something that was done to your child by someone other than you.
  • Parents second-guess everything, to the point that it borders on compulsive behavior and it can be emotional
  • Children with RAD can put a great strain on marriages or relationships with other caregivers, so be sure to protect your relationships and marriage.

Strategies that do not work for parents who are raising a child with RAD

  • Attempting to persuade your child to change his mind by presenting “logical, reasonable, or “practical information”. They are highly unlikely to be influenced by reasonableness.
  • Emotional reactivity. Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder experience their parents’ frustration and anger as proof that the youngster is effectively controlling his parents’ emotions. This only inflates their grandiose sense of power.
  • Negotiating with a child who has RAD
  • Rescuing your child from the consequences of her behavior and/or attempting to solve the problems for her.

For more information on treatment options for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, please contact us.