Signs of Attachment

Signs of Attachment

There are countless lists and checklists available from a variety of sources, many of which are linked at the bottom of this page. Generally speaking…

Children who are considered “at risk” for Attachment Disorder:

  • Children who have been abandoned
  • Children who have been abused (physical, sexual or emotional)
  • Children who have been neglected.
  • Children who have experienced unmitigated pain.
  • Children who have experienced numerous medical procedures, especially at a young age (this includes premies).
  • Children who have been separated from their primary caregiver for any reason at an early age.
  • Children who move repeatedly from foster homes or temporary placements.
  • Children who have neurological disabilities that impair their ability to perceive nurturing.
  • Children who have experienced or witnessed trauma, especially at a young age.
  • Children who were in institutions, such as international orphanages.

 Behaviors Associated with Attachment Impairment:

  • Unable to participate in a reciprocal relationship As an infant, doesn’t respond to parent or attempt to mirror.
  • As an infant, looks away when being nurtured, pushes away when being held.
  • As a toddler, doesn’t seek parent for comfort when distressed
  • Seems to be sending mixed signals.
  • Seems unaware, or uncaring, about others’ feelings, especially those of family members/caregivers.
  • Indiscriminately familiar with strangers Has no stranger danger, when age appropriate
  • “Mom shops” by courting the attention of other adults
  • Superficially charming, especially to those he doesn’t know well
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Hypervigilance, which sometimes appears as hyperactivity or lack of attention.
  • Extreme control problems Obsessive behaviors
  • Melts down at changes in plans, schedule, routine
  • Demanding
  • Sneaky behaviors; passively exerting control
  • Lack of cause & effect thinking
  • Poor impulse control
  • Rage (anger out of proportion with the situation)
  • Destructive, dangerous behaviors Property damage
  • Self-injury
  • Violence
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Firesetting
  • Poor conscience development Shows no remorse
  • Nonsensical lying
  • Always blaming others
  • Entire family seems to negatively interact Parents appear angry, tired, either overly reactive to what the child does; or totally disconnected from the child.
  • Siblings exhibit problems of anger, fear, depression