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Lack of Affection and its effect on children

Posted Feb 03 2010 6:01am
A baby is born. It is taken to the mother who has, let's say, bi-polar disorder. She has not sought help for her disorder but uses drugs and alcohol to self medicate.  She looks at the baby and turns away. When asked if she wants to hold the baby she says no. When asked if she is going to breast feed she turns up her nose and says "No. Give him a bottle." They arrive home to chaos. They baby has no crib but is laid in a dirty play pen in the corner. Loud music blaring, smoke in the air, many people coming and going.  Mom begins to party with her friends. The baby has a bottle propped in it's mouth now and then and is changed when the smell is bad enough. As a toddler the baby is hit when it cries and shoved out of the way. Men come and go from moms life. Some are ok. Some are abusive. Perhaps sexually.  Social Services comes and removed the preschooler from his home and puts him in foster care. By this time the preschool age child is flipping people off and dropping the f bomb freely. He has seen porn, watched his mom have sex with various men and perhaps had to do so himself.  The first foster home can't handle his behaviors so he is moved. The second foster home has to move to another town, so he is moved. The third foster home has a foster child who sexually abuses him behind closed doors......  and then the child is adopted.

He has reactive attachment disorder. This is no child in particular but many children fit this discription.

Another child is born. His parents can't wait to hold him and look into his eyes. He is told how much he is loved. He is kept clean. His cries are answers by loving words and kind eyes. He is held. He is cherished. His first steps are greeted with cheers and video cameras. He is read too. He has grandparents who hug him and smother him with kisses. He is loving disciplined. He is gently potty trained. His parents may not have much money but he knows he is loved. He is a confident happy preschooler ready for his first day of preschool.

Attachment to our primary caregiver makes all the difference in the world as to how our brains work. Attachment makes us fell loved and safe. It gives us the ability to trust. Our children have been hurt. We must give them structure, love, safety.  Never lose sight of the amount of hurt and damage neglect did to their brains as babies. They are so scared and it comes off as anger. Inside is a frightened little child who needs to learn to love.

Never, never, never quit.
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