Tips for those parenting a child with attachment disorder
Parenting a child with attachment issues can be frustrating and emotionally trying. Rebuilding this bond often takes a considerable amount of time, effort and patience. It can be especially hard if you have adopted a child with attachment issues. Whatever the situation may be however – there are ways you can help.
Talking through any treatment plan with a qualified professional is advised, however the following tips may offer some help for those parenting a child with attachment issues:
Be realistic with your expectations
Helping your child with an attachment disorder can be a long and trying process. Ensure you are focussing on every step forward you take (no matter how small) and celebrate any signs of success.
Patience is key
Remaining patient when setbacks occur is essential. Keeping calm despite any bumps in the road will help to create an atmosphere of safety and security for your child – and it is this sense of safety that children with attachment disorder crave the most.
Take care of yourself
Children suffering from attachment disorder are already experiencing high levels of stress, so it is imperative that you keep stress to a minimum. It is important therefore to manage your own stress levels before attempting to help them with theirs. Make time for yourself to ensure you get enough rest, eat well and reduce sources of stress.
Lean on others for support
As well as professional help, be sure to look to friends and family for support when times get tough. Try not to let things get to breaking point and consider joining a support group if you are struggling to cope.
Children are brilliant at picking up on other people’s feelings, and if they sense you are feeling discouraged, they are likely to feel discouraged themselves. Try to stay hopeful and optimistic, and turn to others for reassurance when you’re feeling low.
Set limits and boundaries
Children with attachment disorder need consistent, loving boundaries to make the world more predictable and less scary. Setting limits helps them to understand what is expected from them, while having consequences for their actions will instill a sense of control.
Be available immediately after conflict
Conflict is likely to happen in any parenting situation. Remaining calm during this conflict and being readily available to reconnect after it happens reinforces your consistency and love towards your child. This will help your child trust you and teaches them that you will be there for them no matter what.
Own up to mistakes
If you do let your emotions get the better of you during an argument, be quick to own up to your mistakes and look to reconcile quickly. Your willingness to make amends will help to strengthen the attachment bond.
Keep a routine
Consistent and familiar routines offer a sense of comfort to those with attachment disorder. Explain why any changes to routine take place and look to keep other elements in their life as consistent as possible.
Help your child feel loved
Listen, talk and play with your child. Ensure you are dedicating time to your relationship and if possible, show your child love through cuddling, rocking and holding – things your child may have missed out on in early life.
Support your child’s health
Healthy lifestyle habits such as a good sleep routine and nutritious diet can make a big difference when it comes to children’s moods. If you need help with this, be sure to speak to your doctor for advice.