Parental attachment disorder(10 Posts)
I'm just picking up on another thread that mentioned Parental Attachment Disorder, I'd never heard of it before so googled it and it was like the article I was reading was just written about my DSS.
I've been with his Dad for 5 years and and I've still never got even a little bit close to him, he doesn't really make friends at school well either, he has serious anger and behavioural issues too which he's getting help from school for.
His Mum and Dad split up when he was 1yo, I think his Mum struggled with him and his sister for years and was always passing the children to anybody who would have them, DSS has had more homes than he has had birthdays, his Mum deals with their behaviour by shouting and swearing at them (we have witnessed the shouting and screaming many times but DSD said she also swears at them), when she picks the DSC up after a weekend or week of not seeing them she never ever even seems a little bit pleased to see them. There's also been periods of time when she has stopped DH seeing the kids because he wouldn't do as she told him.
My question is really, how much can we do to help when we only have him EOW? And is the problem likely to be with the fact that he was torn apart from his Dad at such a young age or the fact that he feels emotionally neglected by his Mum? Or a combination of the two?
Although I hadn't read about this as a disorder I had suspected that his problems were deep routed because he feels abandoned and neglected and so when he's with us we've tried our best to be patient, understanding, loving and be consistent with our rules and boundaries. tbh it doesn't seem to have made much difference.
He's not a bad kid, he can be lovely and sweet at times but then he can flip and be taken over by a wave of anger over absolutely nothing and if you try and talk to him or console him etc it makes him worse, it's like this barrier goes up and nothing you say can bring it down. The only thing that works is to leave him for 10 minutes for him to calm down by himself. It's worrying how his mood can change so dramatically.
Family therapy. Even if mother doesn't attend it can still be successful.
How do you get it? Do you need to be referred by a GP?
Attachment disorders are a result of a lack of 'care' in the first 3? Years of a child's life. There are different types and associated 'symptoms' but given his brain has essentially been programmed to follow such patterns of response them there is absolutely no quick fix to this problem. He will trust nobody, believe he can only truly rely on himself and act in all manner of strange ways as a result of some apparently innocuous occurrence. Get books, go to your GP, go private if you can. Talk to school. Bring up your own concerns (though they might have a good idea anyway) and push for an ed psych review through school and possible clinical psych review too. Good luck. This is a bugger to fix if you are right.
Been thinking about this. His Mum could have suffered really hard with depression since the split and isn't coping and needs more support. How could you and your partner help more?
Thanks for the replies.
No unfortunately it's not possible to have 50:50 care, they live about a 2&1/2 hour drive away from us so it's just impossible to do the commute with school runs. I do predict that at some point in the future he will ask to come and live with us but that needs to come from him when he's old enough and mature enough to make that decision.
I do also think that their Mum was suffering with depression, probably before she split with DH and then for the first couple of years after. I've suffered with depression on and off for years so I recognise the symptoms. During that time DH had them 3 nights a week but they moved area a couple of years ago and since then they have moved area and so it had to become EOW, she doesn't want them to come to us every weekend because she works full time so would hardly see them. But they've been split for 6 years now and she now has a new partner and new life, I don't think depression is a problem now, she does now seem much more steady and happy. But I think she'll always have a problem with the children, she's quite possibly the least maternal woman I have ever come across.
You say "them". What are his siblings like?
Yes he has a sister.
She's pretty ok. I mean, yes she has moments when she can be maybe a bit needy and she can have moments when she can be awkward and throw tantrums in an attempt to get her Dad's attention but it's nothing very out of the ordinary for her age (10).
She was 4 when her parents split and I've always thought she seems very emotionally mature for her age, I suppose the big difference between her and her brother is that she can express how she's feeling, if she's upset about something she'll usually talk to us about it.
First 3 years are the formative ones, which makes sense. Unfortunately unless you're going to have much more involvement in his life, then there is very little you can do for him.
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