Sundance Canyon Academy has helped many boys and their families with understanding the difficulty of raising kids with attachment disorders, which is why we’re writing on the topic. As a school for troubled teen boys, we help young men by having them work with our specialized therapy team at a residential treatment facility. If you feel you need help for your son please call us today.
During the first few months of life, babies form attachments with their caregivers that can determine how they relate to others for the rest of their lives. If babies and small children do not form a strong bond with their caregivers, they can develop an attachment disorder. Teen attachment disorders are somewhat common and can be formed in several ways.
How Teen Attachment Disorders Are Formed
Teen attachment disorders stem from negative parental behavior in their childhood. Some common negative parental behaviors include:
Being Overly Enmeshed In The Child’s Life
This happens either when the parent is overly involved in the child’s life or when the child has to act as emotional support for the parent. If the child is not able to grow and develop their own sense of self, they can form an attachment disorder that keeps them too engrained in their parent’s life.
Not Meeting The Child’s Needs
This could happen in a few different ways.
- Being a single parent and not having the time to devote to a child
- Being overly focused on work or other activities outside of the home
- Having a physical disability that interferes with everyday life
- Having a mental health issue that interferes with everyday life
- Having an addiction issue that interferes in everyday life
If a child suffers severe neglect or abuse – physical or mental – they can develop Reactive Attachment Disorder. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in teens is rarer and more complicated to treat than other forms of attachment disorder. Symptoms of RAD include:
- Not feeling guilt after wronging others
- Being very easily influenced by peer pressure
- Having difficulty forming relationships
- Not caring about family relationships
- Being obsessive about relationships
How To Connect With A Teen With An Attachment Disorder
Attachment disorders in teens can be difficult to overcome when you’re trying to connect with your child. Teens with attachment disorders are different from other kids their age, and typical teenage problems are exacerbated for them. Here are some tips for building connections with your teen if they have an attachment disorder:
It can be extremely frustrating when your teen rejects your attempts at connection. Try to remain calm when addressing their behavior, even if they do something that really upsets you.
Set Clear Boundaries
Create rules for your house that are straightforward and understandable. You may need to limit the amount of time that your child spends outside of the house with their friends or on the internet. Teens with attachment disorders struggle with feeling like the people are unreliable. Set reasonable restrictions and consequences for your teen’s behavior, and follow through with any consequences that you set.
Encourage Positive Behaviors
Teens with attachment disorders tend to view the world as scary and unpredictable. This can lead to lowered self-esteem and difficulty building positive relationships. When teens view themselves as unlovable or relationships as untrustworthy, they can withdraw and engage in negative behaviors. Encourage your teen to engage in positive behaviors and show genuine interest in the things that they like.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be extremely draining to be the parent of a teen with a detachment disorder. Make sure that you take care of yourself as well. If you find that you are overwhelmed by trying to connect with your teen and helping them overcome their disorder, seek outside help. You may need to send your child to a therapeutic boarding school where they can be treated by therapists who are trained in addressing attachment disorders in teens.