Saturday, June 10, 2017

Attachment And Attention

Attachment disorders are caused by a break in the bonding process, which causes a child to view adults as untrustworthy. These children still crave love and affirmation, but fear getting it from the primary caregivers - the parents. Because of this fear, they try to get it from other people. This is referred to as a lack of stranger danger. "Stranger," doesn't necessarily mean someone unknown to the child. A stranger in this instance is basically anyone besides mom and dad.

Our children are pro's at seeking out attention from other people. Joseph does this by acting childish, Kiana does it by being sweet and putting on an innocent air. While our children's attention seeking behaviors appear very obvious to us, other people usually do not pick up on them. 

Kiana has been having a tough time accepting my love lately. She is feeling rejected by her birth mom and want's nothing to do with my "second hand" mothering. While she is actively pushing me away, she still craves affection. 

We live in a long stone lane which we share with several other families. The girls were playing at the end of our immediate drive the other day, and I told Kiana that they must come closer to the house. The next time I looked out the window, our neighbor E, was standing on our drive chatting with the girls. Red flags went up as it is very unusual for her to come and chat with the children, since she is aware of their attention seeking behaviors. I kept an eye on the situation and after she left I called Kiana inside. She was barely in the door before she said, "I didn't tell her to come up!" Which I knew meant she had done just that. We talked for a bit and Kiana admitted that she told Lia to tell E to come talk with them. Lia of course had no qualms about yelling down the drive.

"Why did you tell E to come?" I asked Kiana. She insisted she didn't know and I believed her, but I wanted to help her understand her actions so I continued pressing for an answer. After giving various answers, I helped her out. "I think you are needing some love and since you won't let mom love you, you are trying to get it from other people." She was quiet for a moment and I could see understanding dawning. I wish I could say she changed her ways but as is typical for children with attachment difficulties, knowing that I had her behavior figured out made her feel threatened and things continued down hill.

This is a prime example of why we keep our children nearby. Joseph has zero stranger danger awareness, while Kiana only tries to get attention from others when she is emotionally unwell. While Kiana enjoyed the attention she received from E, she doesn't like how she feels now. Guess who gets to clean up the mess? Mom, the one whom she already has a problem with. I could have called her inside while E was still here and I briefly considered it but I knew doing so might make my neighbor say it was quite alright that the girls wanted her to come up, which is the last thing she needed. When the people she is trying to get attention from tell Dean or I that it is okay if she does xyz, it gives her someone else to manipulate.

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