Signs of Attachment Disorder in Young Children

Listed below are behaviors and patterns of relating that indicate compromised and disrupted attachment in toddlers and young children:

Showing Affection
  • Lack of warm and affectionate interactions

  • Indiscriminate affection with unfamiliar adults

Comfort Seeking
  • Lack of comfort seeking when frightened, hurt or ill

  • Comfort seeking in odd or ambivalent manner

Reliance For Help
  • Excessive independence

  • Does not seek or use attachment figure for support when needed

  • Lack of compliance with caregivers’ requests

  • Excessively demanding

  • Compulsive compliance

Exploratory Behavior
  • Failure to check back with caregiver in unfamiliar surroundings

  • Exploration limited by unwillingness to leave caregiver

Controlling Behavior
  • Excessively bossy and punitive controlling of caregiver

  • Oversolicitous and inappropriate caregiving behavior toward caregiver

Reunion Responses
  • Failure to reestablish interaction after separation

  • Includes ignoring and avoiding, intense anger, lack of affection

About Terry M. Levy, Ph.D....

Terry M. Levy, Ph.D., is a therapist based in Evergreen, Colorado, specializing in post traumatic stress disorders.

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