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How do I build a stronger attachment?

12 replies

theshelf · 06/06/2008 21:13

Our two came to us three weeks ago and we've been spending virtually all our time together as a family. For some reason they have built a much stronger attachment with my husband than with me. Am finding this very hard as I feel like I'm being rejected most of the time. Have tried doing all the routine times and playing with them loads, but they still don't want me. Am going back to work in a week and cannot decide if I'm glad for the break or scared of how much further apart we'll all become. Just feeling sad, not really a question unless someone has any advice. They are 3 and 21 months.

OP posts:
controlfreakyagain · 06/06/2008 21:16

do their life stories have any light to shed? what do mummies mean to them? may their strong feelings for birth / foster mother have relevance? i'm sure it's v hard but it really is early days.... chin up!

mummyBop · 06/06/2008 21:39

Its stil very early days - give it time and keep on with trying to do "normal" things with them so it has chance to grow. Ours have been with us three months and the girls initially bonded more with me and the boy with my husband, but it is starting to even out.

If you're going back to work, is your husband going to be the primary carer? If so, inevitably he will have the stronger bond more quickly, but yours will come.

There are lots of reasons why this might be happening, none of which are because you are not good enough. They are not rejecting you, just adapting to a new life in a new home.

Big ((hugs))

Kewcumber · 06/06/2008 21:43

goodness three weeks is really very early. I met DS at 11 months and even that young I would say it tok him about 5 weeks to show any kind of attachment to me and even then I would say it was many many months before he would prefer me to anyone else. I have no DH so if you think them prefering your DH to you is bad - try them preferring a random person to you!!!

Is is possible that they have bad experiences of bonding wiht a woman, it's also possible that their apparent attachment to you DH isn't really attachment at all just that its emotionally safer for them to respond positively to a man than a woman.

I think that true attachment took 6 months for DS and I.

Four weeks isn't a very long time to spend with them before going back to work if you are concerned about attachment. Are you going abck full time? Could you consider part-time for a while?

bran · 06/06/2008 21:52

When ds came to us (at about 11 months) he attached to dh much more strongly than to me, possibly because dh is asian and looked very similar to ds's foster family.

It got much better over time, although he's still Daddy's little pet. You may find that if you are at work and your dh is at home with them that they will get more keen on you and be excited when you get home. Can you make sure that if they have a bump or a fall that you are the one to give them a cuddle and kiss it better. Even if they run to your dh first he can hold the knee/elbow etc out for you to kiss, so that they associate you with being comforted. Also if they wake in the night it's a good opportunity to give comfort, and perhaps you could do most of the snuggly bedtime stuff.

I think you might find that the whole family dynamic will change and keep changing over time and according to what it is that your dcs want from a parent. For instance, ds will always go to dh if he wants to play football, but will come to me for food and drink.

maryz · 06/06/2008 21:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

beemail · 06/06/2008 22:08

it's very early days as the others have said but also early for you to be returning to work have you been able to have adoption leave? Would it be at all poss for you have longer off for your sake as well as theirs? If not and your husband is the primary carer then I'm sure you'll be around to do all the good bonding stuff in the evening - meal, bath,story and bed. In a short while it could all look very different . Do you know much about their history - not asking you to reveal here but just thinking that there may be reasons why they seem to have bonded well with your husband. My second was the reverse (and there were reasons)but a real Daddy's girl now!

JiminyCricket · 06/06/2008 22:17

I have absolutely no experience, but as an observation, kids often seem to find adults who 'sit back a bit' a little more approachable. You will be there for them, day in, day out, and that, I guess is where it grows from for all of us.

booblies · 06/06/2008 22:33

Hi, look up Dan Hughes he has great stuff on attachment.

april74 · 07/06/2008 10:45

Hi our dd as been here for 2 months now, she attached to me pretty much straight away and didn't want anything to do with DH, he did feel a little hurt but the sw said it was perfectly natural for her to attach to one person at a time, my dh actually took leave to spend time with her, and like I said she didn't want to know, but as soon as he went to work, that changed it was like by the time he got home from work she was bored of my company and would great him, it took a week before I got one of her cuddles like we knew she meant it, his came after about 3 weeks, now 8 weeks later she treats us both the same.

As others have said its very early days.

theshelf · 14/06/2008 11:34

Thank you for all the advice and well wishes. This week has been much better we've finally seemed to be coming together as a family.

Well, am back in work on Monday and am scared of losing our newly forming bonds, but have to pay the bills somehow. Looking forward to more holidays together soon enough.

Will update in a few weeks again.

OP posts:
mummyBop · 16/06/2008 17:50

Glad things are starting to come together - hope tyour return to work was OK.


ActingNormal · 03/09/2008 14:02

Have you read Primal Wound? It says something about adoptive children being more wary of bonding with women than men because being separated from their mother, who was a woman, was painful and they find it hard to trust women not to abandon them. It also says that as the child grows up he/she may have less friendships with women than men.

This was definitely true in my case and I feel more of a bond with my adoptive dad than with my adoptive mum (although they were distant parents anyway). It must feel awful to feel rejected by your child who you desperately want to make feel wanted.

I can imagine the desperation and tenseness coming from that making it worse and I think the person was right who said try to relax and not force the relationship. Just be close by with a warm attitude and let them learn to trust you, like a timid animal who will eventually come closer as he/she feels it is safe.

Whoever said it is not you personally they are rejecting was right, they just have an early instinct to be resistant to bonding, especially with women.

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