Monday, February 21, 2011

Attachment Cycle

During the course of attachment therapy, over the years, we have explained to J that she has RAD and shown her a diagram of healthy attachment and unhealthy attachment cycles. It was something I was really apprehensive about at first because I didn't want J to know that anything was wrong with her or for her to label herself OR to allow her to make excuses for her behavior OR teach her to see herself as a victim. Kristy honored my wishes cause she's awesome like that but I was wrong on so many levels.  It turned out to be a big mistake on my part because once we explained it to her you could see the relief in her eyes.  She had no idea WHY she had so much trouble or WHY she was so different from other kids.  She had felt lost because she didn't understand and it only exacerbated the problem.  She got it on the first explanation.   Now we remind her on an as needed basis.  Whether it's FAS or just different levels of healing, she needs to be reminded of it.  And the light bulb goes on again for her every. single. time. 

Kristy has a chart in her office that we use to explain this to her.  A diagram of the attachment cycle to use with our kids can be found here.  I'm going to print it out and use it at home as well. It certainly can't hurt.  On the first diagram, during the explanation, we explain what are some of the needs a baby has and what the mother does to meet the needs.  The second diagram we go through what the baby needs and how the mother doesn't meet the needs.  The last diagram we go through what happens with during the 2nd year of attachment and how the child learns limits and boundaries.  Now that J is healthier and been through these explanations a gazillion times she can rattle them off all by herself.  Every time she does she gets a little better because she internalizes them each time she says them.

Just sharing what has worked for us.


J. said...

we struggle with similar things around here around information and what can be done with it. THanks for the link though, one of the things that we didi withthe boys was a modfied version of Roots of Empathy which is an in school program/book that teaches children about attachment/empathy for others in an attempt curb bullying. It is a great progeam and the book is worth having.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

It's sad how much the kids think there is something so very wrong about them, when it is not their fault. Thanks for the reminder!

BT said...

We delayed telling P about RAD for a couple of years too, for the same reasons as you. And like you, it was a big mistake. When we did tell him, we had the same experience as you. He has never really used it as an excuse (explanation, yes; excuse, not really), and he seemed/s extremely relieved to have an explanation of why he struggled/s with so many things that other kids, including his brother, just seem to handle so effortlessly. Now that he knows about it and seems to understand it almost as well as I do (with my imperfect knowledge), he can express so vividly what's going on inside him when he's in a dysregulated state and he can often/sometimes explain to himself (and us) WHY he is responding the way he is and why that once made sense for his life and that it doesn't any longer.