Posted by: fatherof11 | March 8, 2006

What is an attachment disorder

Before we talk about attachment disorders, I want to define them. The symptoms of attachment disorders are typically a list of behaviors. Here is one such list:

  • My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to other children.
  • My child can’t keep friends for an age-appropriate length of time.
  • My child doesn’t do as well in school as my child could do even with a little more effort.
  • My child pushes me away or becomes stiff when I try to hug, unless my child wants something from me, in which case my child can be affectionate and engaging.
  • My child argues for long periods of time, often about meaningless or silly things.
  • My child has a large need to control everything.
  • My child is hyper-vigilant.
  • My child acts amazingly innocent, or pretends that things aren’t really bad or a problem when caught doing something wrong.
  • My child does dangerous things such as runs away, jumps out of windows, or other potentially harmful actions. My child seems oblivious to the fact that my child may be hurt.
  • My child deliberately breaks or ruins his things or other’s things.
  • My child doesn’t seem to feel age-appropriate guilt when my child does something wrong.
  • My child is impulsive. My child seems unable or unwilling to stop doing something my child wants to do.
  • My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to animals.
  • My child steals, or shows up with things that belong to others with unbelievable, unusual, or suspicious reasons for how my child got these things.
  • My child likes to sneak things without permission, even though my child could have had these things if my child had asked.
  • My child doesn’t seem to learn from mistakes, consequences, or punishments (my child continues the behavior despite the consequences).
  • My child makes false reports of abuse or neglect. My child tries to get sympathy from others, or tries to get us in trouble, by telling others that I abuse, don’t feed, or don’t provide the basic necessities.
  • My child seems not to experience pain when hurt, refusing to let anyone provide comfort.
  • My child does not usually ask for things. My child demands things.
  • My child lies, often about obvious or ridiculous things, or when it would have been easier to tell the truth.
  • My child is quite bossy with other children and adults.
  • My child hoards, sneaks food, or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, raw sugar, non-food items, package mixes, baker’s chocolate, etc.)
  • My child often does not make eye contact when adults want to make eye contract with my child.
  • My child has extended temper tantrums.
  • My child chatters non-stop, asks repeated questions about things that make no sense, mutters, or is hard to understand when talking.
  • My child is accident-prone (gets hurt a lot), or complains a lot about every little ache and pain (needs constant attention).
  • My child acts cute or charming to get others to do what my child wants.
  • My child is overly friendly with strangers.
  • My child has set fires, or is preoccupied with fire.
  • My child prefers to watch violent cartoons and/or TV shows or horror movie (regardless of whether or not you allow your child to do this).

According to the link, if your child has more than five of these “symptoms” you should seek professional help. If your child also had problem during the first few years such as neglect/abuse, in an orphanage, or adopted then they have an attachment disorder. Note that this list is by no way definitive. Each list you see will be somewhat different. For instance, some will add severe illness during the first year as a cause. Other lists will have a slightly different selection of symptoms. The key elements are a number of undesirable behaviors combined with problems in the first few years of life.

So those are attachment disorders according to the experts.

So, discerning readers, anyone see any problems with these symptoms?



  1. Several sound like the natural sin issues of any child… and even adults.

  2. You win the prize, Lisa! Looking at this list, it appears that at least two of our homegrown children most likely have attachment disorders. Hmmmm, maybe that is MY problem, too?!

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