Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a rare condition in which infants and children are unable to trust or develop a healthy bond with parents or caregivers. This creates frightening and sometimes violent behaviors. Any child who lives through loss of their primary caretaker, separation, neglect, or multiple caregivers in the first 2 years of their life can suffer from RAD.
RAD is the result of abuse, neglect, or other parenting problems early in a child's life. The child’s basic needs for comfort, affection, and nurturing aren’t met. Instead of learning to trust, this baby learns that he cannot depend on adults. Instead of trust developing, rage develops. The child thinks life depends on being in control.
Toddlers and older children with reactive attachment disorder may:
Treatment for attachment disorder may include:
When you are parenting a RAD child, it is easy to doubt yourself. Parenting a child who fights you every step of the way can be very discouraging. Learn all you can about RAD. Join a support group.
If you're a parent or caregiver of a child with RAD, you may feel frustrated and stressed. Take time for yourself. Find respite care and use it. It can help to see a professional therapist. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child.
When your child is violent, seek immediate professional help.