Preventing Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)


While it's not known if reactive attachment disorder can be prevented with certainty, there may be ways to reduce the risk of its development:
  1. Be actively engaged with babies and kids in your care by playing with them, talking to them, making eye contact or smiling at them, for example.
  2. Don't miss opportunities to provide warm, nurturing interaction with your baby or youngster, such as during feeding, bathing or diapering.
  3. If you lack experience or skill with babies or kids, take classes or volunteer with kids so that you can learn how to interact in a nurturing manner.
  4. If your baby or youngster has a background that includes orphanages or foster care, educate yourself about attachment and develop specific skills to help your youngster bond.
  5. If you're an adult with attachment problems, it's not too late to get professional help. Getting help may prevent you from having attachment problems with your kids, who otherwise may also be at risk.
  6. Learn to interpret your baby's cues, such as different types of cries, so that you can meet his or her needs quickly and effectively.
  7. Teach kids how to express feelings and emotions with words. Lead by example, and offer both verbal and nonverbal responses to the youngster's feelings through touch, facial expressions and tone of voice.

Coping With RAD—

If you're a parent or caregiver whose baby or youngster has reactive attachment disorder, it's easy to become angry, frustrated and distressed. You may feel like your youngster doesn't love you — or that it's hard to like your youngster sometimes.

You may find it helpful to:
  • Acknowledge that the strong or ambivalent feelings you may have about your youngster are natural
  • Be willing to call for emergency help if your youngster becomes violent
  • Continue friendships and social engagements
  • Find respite care so that you can periodically have downtime if caring for your youngster is particularly troublesome
  • If your youngster was adopted, reach out to your adoption agency for attachment resources
  • Join a support group to connect with others facing the same issues
  • Practice stress management skills
  • Take time for yourself through hobbies or exercise

Parenting Defiant RAD Teens

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