are Not Alone
feel one of the most important parts of taking care of yourself is to
find the time to relax and realize that many of the feelings you have
about your attachment disordered child are normal under the circumstances.
You need to acknowledge these feelings, not deny them and keep them buried
where they fester and make you lash out at your child and those around
have been under attack in your own home and those attacks are primarily
coming from your child as well as others who just don't understand
- or want to understand. But, you must remember that this is a very
sick child, not a monster. So learn how to effectively parent your
child and learn how to deal with your feelings - by talking to others
who live the same life or to a professional therapist. Keeping these
feelings inside only makes the situation worse and you cannot effectively
parent your child if you are not taking care of yourself.
are two articles that may help you to see that you are not alone
in many of the thoughts and feelings you may have.
am one of many moms nationally who provide support to families with children
effected by Attachment Disorder. Our children have much in common; but
over the years, I have found that we "moms" do too. This common
ground is our "emotions". Most moms are shocked to learn others
feel (or have felt) the same.
my numerous observations and conversations, I’ve come to realize:
Unless a mom can get past these damaging emotions (and misconceptions):
the child has trouble healing, and other relationships are challenged.
........, from one mom to another, here goes.............................
Many moms have the misconception that they should be able to solve their
child’s problems (super-mom syndrome). The worst of all feelings!
We are angels, not gods.
(on many levels) ........:
Without knowing any better; most of us have lost our tempers (or worse)
with our RAD child
about how we often feel toward our child: (let’s face it --------
their disorder makes them hard to "like" let alone "love"
that "we" let our family fall apart (the God thing again)
that we don’t spend enough quality time with our other children,
our spouse, and, in taking care of ourselves
that we are having trouble forgiving our child for past behaviors
………….. BIG ONE!
that we are angry with God for this tremendous challenge
(or betrayal or feeling frustrated......)
at our HUSBANDS: for not believing us or noticing the child’s
strange manipulations, for not understanding, for not supporting us
emotionally, for countermining our new parenting techniques (usually
by loosing their temper), for not being as committed in using the
new parenting techniques or reading the materials, for "saving"
the child when he/she didn’t need saved, for not helping us
when we needed helped, for leaving it all to us
at the system or adoption agency: Cries for help went out for years
- bad advise and blame were given in return
at our Attachment Disordered child: for doing this "to us"
- we took it personally (saw the child "as" the disorder,
instead of a child "with" an emotional disorder)
at family and friends: for saying things like, "All kids do that!"
….and not understanding what our life was like
at ourselves: for not being our "old self" or fun anymore
at God: Why me?
at everyone you have had to explain the disorder to and that you have
had to explain it to so many.
ourselves - our abilities (feeling un-empowered)
helping professionals (We have been given so much "bad"
advice; we question even "good" advice)
- LOSS OF HOPE: "Will it ever get better?" "Why read
another book; nothing helps." "I’m tired."
& ALONE (no one understands and we "believe" we can’t
get respite from our problem child)
Many moms suffer from Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and
secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
and/or FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD
my own experience (and I know I speak for other moms as well); talking
about and dealing with these feelings is helpful and necessary; both for
you and your family. Your child’s therapist may be your best resource.
Request a separate session, this is not for your child’s ears. I
encourage therapists to initiate a session for this purpose.
A new book: (Note: the title is misleading; but the content is great,
even if you had great parents!) The Whole Parent, How to become a terrific
parent even if you didn’t have one; by Debra Wesselmann. She describes
many COPING TECHNIQUES and step by step approaches to dealing with STRESS.
She helps the reader identify parental misperceptions and how to challenge
them. In addition, this book deals with: MANAGING TOUGH EMOTIONS, Creating
a new wellspring of nurturing experiences for both you and your child,
Forming healing connections, COPING WITH WHAT SEEMS LIKE TOO MUCH, Strengthening
your relationship with your child, Parenting the more challenging child,
How to strengthen your attachment with your child at any age, and more.
God keep you in His special place,
may be copied and distributed without permission: Families with Attachment
Disordered Children (Pennsylvania & beyond)
Nine Stages of Grief as
Experienced by New Adoptive Parents of
Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder
stages of grief, as modeled by Kubler-Ross, are usually associated with
those recovering from the loss of a loved one; however, these stages are
weathered by anyone experiencing a loss of any kind. A person can grief
over many things, such as the loss of a job, marriage, health, or even
a material possession. In each case, a loss is experienced. Depending
on the severity of that loss combined with the personality of the individual
involved, the stages of grief can last only a few minutes or the duration
of a lifetime.
This grieving process is extremely difficult for new adoptive parents
of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), because it begins
almost instantly before there has been an appropriate lapse in time for
parents to sufficiently bond with their new child. The bonding is delayed
due to the emotional distancing of the RAD child. Parents have conflicting
emotions between sorrow for the child and his/her past and then those
for himself in his loss of enjoying and controlling a stable home environment.
Parents must decide whether they can endure parenting a child who lacks
the inner resources to reciprocate their love by becoming a willing participant
in the family. Whether parents choose to finalize or disrupt the adoption,
a loss is experienced.
The following is a variation of the Kubler-Ross model of the Stages of
Grief which has been conformed to the loss that parents of RAD children
find themselves as they progress to the final level of adjustment.
Shock - After a brief honeymoon period, full of excitement and idealistic
dreams, one has the realization that his child is unhealthy. Even
when parents have been told of their child's past behaviors, many
do not understand the full realm that the accumulation of those behaviors
entail until after they have experienced life with that child. One
have feelings of bewilderment and numbness.
Denial - Denial protects our emotional well being from shock. One
may make excuses for the child's behaviors such as: The child
my instructions. He/she needs more time to adjust. I am expecting
too much too soon. I probably didn't perceive that situation correctly.
Anger - Outrage towards the obstinate child, biological family, Child
Protective Services, court system, or anyone who played an intricate
causing the damage to their child. One may also be angry at their
spouse for lack of support or even certain family members for their
lack of acceptance and understanding. Often these feelings of fury
are surprising to the person experiencing them.
Depression - Anger without any solutions can lead to feelings of isolation
and despair. One is emotionally paralyzed. One may feel as if he were
an outsider observing the strangers within his own household.
Conversations with friends seem shallow and frivolous. Support is
Physical symptoms of Distress - The most common symptom is the preoccupation
of thoughts directed towards the child. No matter how hard one tries
to think about something else, the unhealthy child always
dominates his mind. Other symptoms of distress can include: ulcers,
headaches, nervousness, lack of sleep, shortness of breath, digestive
problems, lack of appetite, or uncontrollable eating.
Inability to Renew Normal Activities - The RAD child will not permit
the family to pursue their routine activities without turmoil. Parents
may also find that their marriage is suffering from lack of quality
one another. Many are without babysitters who are capable of managing
an emotionally disturbed child.
Guilt Feelings - One feels guilt for his lack of parenting skills
in not being able to bring about the proper results in his child.
A parent may also feel guilty for his feelings of ambivalence towards
the child, and
wonder what is missing from his own character that causes him not
to feel more bonded. A deep examination of one's own role in the
eventually leads to forgiveness of self and a decision.
Gradually Overcoming Grief - The decision to take action either by
disrupting or finalizing the adoption. Either way, new hope for the
child and one's homelife begins. If finalizing, techniques to
control the child's
behaviors are administered, adjusted, and emotional counseling usually
begins. Parents' emotional equilibrium gradually returns.
Readjustment to New Realities - Acceptance and willingness to invest
in a whole new reality. A reality where you are stronger because most
parenting skills, relationships, and inner resources have been thoroughly
parents of RAD children can find support in knowing that these stages
are a normal part of the adjustment period. Parents will also have a better
understanding of their child as he/she too must go through these same
stages of grief and loss before reaching their final level of adjustment
with Permission from the author.
families find it difficult to find care for their child with an attachment
disorder. Sometimes, parents and other family members need a small
amount of time away from the ill child. Respite care can provide
this if the caregiver is savvy about attachment disorder.
by Greg Keck
Resource Center for Respite and Crisis Care
Respite Location Service
Sites and Articles
and the Child with Attachment Disorder
by Beverly White
Traumatic Stress Disorder
in Families with Attachment Disordered Children
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Last updated on
February 18, 2013
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everything I could find on this issue so that I could help our son
and maybe help others who are walking this same path.
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