I realized that I jumped ahead of myself in the last post. I want to step back and give you some signs and symptoms to look for. Remember, not every child will have all the symptoms and not all will show them to the same degree.
Attachment Disorder Symptoms:
• Superficially engaging & charming
• Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
• Lack of eye contact on parents terms
• Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly)
• Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone)
• Cruelty to animals
• Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
• No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
• Learning Lags
• Lack of cause and effect thinking
• Lack of conscience
• Abnormal eating patterns
• Poor peer relationships
• Preoccupation with fire
• Preoccupation with blood & gore
• Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
• Inappropriately demanding & clingy
• Abnormal speech patterns
• Triangulation of adults
• False allegations of abuse
• Presumptive entitlement issues
• Parents appear hostile and angry
My info comes from Nancy Thomas.
(I boldfaced the ones that I was seeing in Grace.)
What did this look like in real life? One frazzled mama! One of the first things we noticed was that when someone would come over (especially a man), she would be all over him--sitting on his lap, touching his face, getting all worked into a feeding frenzy of attention. When we would go to remove her, she would act as though we were in the wrong, that we were the stranger. I lost count of how often she did this one. Of course the person she was playing would think it all cute and precious and be flattered that she wanted him/her so much. She would get so worked up that she was hyperactive and had no self control. Grace is a very physical little girl. Everything she does is full force and full of gusto. She has broken more toys and books than all the other 3, even more than Connor on asthma meds! And she wouldn't care. Tornado Grace would strike again and again with no remorse. She can be quite rough with pets. On this one, I'm not positive she was trying to be cruel as much as she just doesn't think and acts so physically in everything she does. She would often just babble and chatter and not care if you understood her and she loves babytalk. She asks the most obvious and nonsense questions. Nonstop. And could she ever play one parent/adult against another! (That's triangulation.) She would get mad at one of us and go climb on the other parent and look back at the first parent and smile this victorious smile (out of sight of the parent she was on). Very manipulative. Ahhh, and entitlement? She thought she deserved everything even if it wasn't hers--things, time, activity.... She couldn't stand to think someone was getting something she wasn't.
And after all this, don't you think the parent would feel a bit hostile? Add to this that most parents (of a normally attached child) a RAD parent talks to will tell them, "my child did x too, she'll out grow it" or "she looks so happy and well adjusted, you're exaggerating," or "she's just outgoing." It's not just one or two of the above signs. It's the multiple signs, the repetitive signs, and it's what the child allows the other person to see which is probably not at all what she shows her parents. One thing I cannot stress enough is that God has given us wisdom and intuition. Trust your parent's intuition, if you feel something's not right, it probably isn't. You are around the child the most and you see the child in his/her most natural state.
Tune in to Part 3 to see what we have been doing to help Grace to heal.