Reactive Attachment Disorder
Reactive attachment disorder (also known as RAD) is described in clinical literature as a severe and relatively uncommon disorder that can affect children. RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. An inability to form normal relationships with others, especially the child’s caretaker. RAD begins before age 5 and requires marked pathogenic neglect in the first three years of life. Children with RAD exhibit three specific problem areas: 1) They are unable to form attachments; they form relationships only on the basis of need with little or no regard for one caregiver over another. 2) They exhibit developmental retardation in that they have difficulty with conceptual thinking (lack of cause-and-effect thinking). 3) They show poor impulse control and are especially aggressive. The most disturbing feature is their total lack of remorse. These children do not allow themselves to be parented; they need to be in control.
Most children in the system have attachment problems, but few actually have a RAD diagnosis. Attachment is a learned behavior. Children with RAD need very specific counseling to overcome it and often also require residential or psychiatric care. Most such strategies are in the process of being evaluated. Mainstream practitioners and theorists have presented significant criticism of the diagnosis and treatment of alleged reactive attachment disorder or attachment disorder within the complementary and alternative medicine field commonly known as attachment therapy.
One of most common questions asked is “How can we motivate our child to have interest in other activities?” There is no simple answer to this question. Parents spend a great deal of time and energy trying to figure out how to motivate their children. They use the carrot and stick approach. When the carrot doesn’t work, they get out the stick. Parental influence based on lectures, demands, punishment, or incentives can be deceiving. Your child may appear to be doing better, but problems occur when the outside motivator is removed. You cannot change your child’s mind through external motivation. All outside motivation is temporary. You cannot be with your child forever; he eventually will go off on his own.
Your job as a parent is to prepare your child for the real world. If your child is not internally motivated, he is left no choice but to find another external motivator or flounder. If you control, enable, or rescue your child, don’t expect him to be responsible as a young adult. Self-accountability is a skill that needs to be developed long before leaving home. This might explain why a disturbing number of college freshmen who go away to school don’t make it past the first year. They do not possess the self-discipline and inner drive necessary to succeed independently.
You cannot motivate your child, but you can do the things that will improve his attitude and self-motivation. To learn more about Reactive Attachment Disorder please visit www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_attachment_disorder
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