Posted by: fatherof11 | March 4, 2006

Attachment Disorders

4given asks:

From a Biblical perspective, what are your thoughts on “attachment disorder” or “reactive attachment disorder” and the prevailing thought that it must be treated by a professional psychologist with a Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder approach?

Interesting question. We have done considerable thinking in this area. It is unclear to us whether we have dealt personally with these issues. All three of our daughters who came from disruptions were or probably would have been diagnosed with attachment disorders. However, when we got them we never saw many problems. So were the attachment issues with the child or with the parents? I would say the issue was as much the parent’s expectations as it was an actual problem with the child.

Let me begin by saying that I do not believe that the psychX sciences have much to offer. Modern psychology is based on a set of presuppositions that do not entirely agree with Scripture. As such their conclusions are suspect. They do have a good body of observed data that can be helpful, however their corrupt view of the nature of man will often lead them to invalid conclusions regarding the data. This does not mean that they are never right. However, their invalid presuppositions color all of their conclusion. Thus each must be evaluated on its own merit to see whether it agrees with Scripture or not. At some times, it would seem better to just start from scratch rather than rethink everything that had been done.

With regard to “attachment disorders,” this is really just a wastebasket diagnosis. There is a whole constellation of behaviors that is attributed to attachment disorders. Attachment disorders are diagnosed when the child has some collection of these behaviors combined with not having had parents in the early years of life. Many of these behaviors are not really “symptoms,” but are what the Bible calls sin. Others such, as food hording, are rational responses to deprivation that have turned into habits which are now undesirable. Each issue needs to be properly identified and dealt with in the appropriate manner.

The difficulty that comes with these kids is that the have so many issues that they all become interconnected. Language delays can inhibit communication which can inhibit instruction and training which is the means of correcting other problems. Defiance and anger can impede instruction in other areas, etc.. The real problem is not knowing where to begin and how to work on one problem without working on all the others.

I will try to post more on this issue in the coming days. I will probably take up what I consider to be the causes of attachment disorders and then talk about dealing with some of the issues.



  1. Excellent. THank you. The twins we have adopted have been given this diagnosis by friends who mean well.
    The best way, we have found in dealing with the wide array of issues that have presented themselves at various times is to call them what they are… sin issues… and then look to the scriptures in learning how to deal with them. We have done this with all of our children. The twins, however have brought many issues that we were not familiar with in dealing with our bio children… that is why the Word of God has become our guide book. I love Lou Priolo’s book “Teach them Diligently: How to Use scriptures in Child Training”
    Also, having people like you guys in my life… that the Lord has obviously provided… to encourage and also guide me to the Word of God. I am so privileged to have gotten a glimpse at the introduction and first 2 chapters of your book. It is EXCELLENT!!!

  2. Thanks Bob for this clear and careful articulation.

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