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Wednesday, 27 January 2021
What some of these "Red Flag Phrases" mean to us Print
A child with an attachment issue feels an overwhelming need to control everything in his world. He may demonstrate what appears to be "strong-willed" behavior, that is actually masking his huge need for control. He may tantrum easily if he doesn't get his way. He may also try to enforce this "strong-will" more at home with his family--especially his mother--than he does out in public.

Control issues we've noticed:
  • Brushing teeth
  • Getting dressed
  • Getting into/buckling/riding in the carseat
  • Diaper changes
  • Eating (including "picky eater", holding food in mouth for long periods of time, refusing to eat, throwing food)
  • Sleeping
  • Refusal to hold parent's hand
  • Insisting that parent ________ (carry him, stand when carrying him, come the second he calls)
  • Ignoring when he hears his name called (leading some to wonder if he is hearing impaired)
  • Refusing to follow instructions (leading some to believe that his language reception is poor)
  • Taking photos (child refuses to cooperate during photo sessions or develops a "quirk" such as always winking, frowning, sticking out tongue, etc… that parent cannot convince him to stop)

He may show signs of wanting to be prematurely independent: holding his own bottle, wanting to walk by himself and not hold hands with Mommy, not wanting to be held, walking away in the grocery store, showing a lot of interest in strangers. People may say, "He's just curious."

Early Two-Year-Old Behavior
Everyone knows about the "terrible twos": tantrums, short fuses, wanting to be independent, being bossy, etc… But what about when these signs appear at 9 months or 11 months or 15 months old? Often, parents of attachment-impaired children are told not to worry about their child's behavior, "Oh he's just more mature than most. It's the terrible twos setting in already." But what about when it only happens with mom? Or only when at home? If a child is in daycare, sometimes the behavior upon arriving home is called the "witching hour," chalked up to just being "really tired" after being gone all day, not recognizing that the behavior is happening primary with Mom and/or Dad.

Children with attachment issues may seem to fade into the background, never asking for anything, always complying. She may sit on mom's lap for a long meeting and never move or make a sound. He may play quietly for hours, never calling out for mom. In many ways, these avoidant symptoms are the hardest to detect. No one questions the normalcy of a quiet, independent, well-behaved child.

Velcro Baby
Many of us (and the professionals around us), assumed that our children were well-attached because they wanted to be with us all day, every day. We failed to recognize this common symptom of anxious attachment.
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