Attachment is a big deal in the older child adoption world. It needs to be. A child needs to be able to attach so that they can heal. Some parents think that love is enough. Some parents think that after a couple of months their new child should trust them. Some see RAD in every child. Some deny that kids can be so damaged they will not only fail to love their new parents,they will never love anyone. Those are the jr psychopaths. They exist. They need a tremendous amount of help that doesn’t exist in my state. Some parents drug their children into submissiveness and some fail to medicate the children who could benefit . Heaven help any parent trying to get good solid answers and good solid support. More often than not the new parent is blamed for they very behaviors they are begging help for. Didn’t you read Mary’s file? It said she needed structure. If you provided structure then little Mary wouldn’t have disemboweled your pet cat and by the way she never did that in care. (after all if it isn’t written it didn’t happen).
Fortunately, there are a good portion of kids that can heal and attach. The trick is you have to wait a year or two or three. It also helps if your child hasn’t been exposed to alcohol or meth in utero.It is hard to attach if you can’t reason.
So how do we handle helping a child attach in our home? We keep our life simple.We laugh a lot. We sneak in touch. We encourage negative feelings to be verbalized. We eat dinner together. We go for walks. We play board games. We read out loud once the child can handle following a story. I bake bread and cookies;things that make the home smell nice and inviting. They are held accountable. They are treated with respect. We spend many,many hours together just being together. Think of parenting a young toddler and you have what it feels like parenting a child you are trying to foster attachment with. It is hard work for both parties.
Board games help more than you would think We don’t play cooperative games. We play any man for himself games. That sounds counter intuitive but it is not. The games we play for the first few months tend to be UNO and Aggravation. We move on to others later. (which is good because I have come to hate UNO and am very tired of Aggravation). Games help emotionally and cognitively. They force interaction in a way that movies and video games do not. Games encourage talking to each other. Kids love them once they learn the rules.Even my rage thrower’s enjoyed playing a game. You can tell a lot about a child by how they play a board game. They seem to learn a lot about us as well.
While therapy is helpful,it is the simple things done consistently that have done the most good.
For that reason alone I will place a smile on my face and play my three hundred millionth game of UNO.