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Children with strong vocabulary show boost in self-control

According to a study published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly journal, three little words may help young children increase their self-control abilities. Those three little words aren???t what you think. Encouraging children to ???use your words??? builds their vocabulary, which helps children to regulate emotions and behavior. Researchers discovered that vocabulary development proved to be even more important in helping boys increase their self-control abilities.

Claire Vallotton, PhD, and Catherine Ayoub, PhD, followed children participating in the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation study from the time they were 1 year old up to 3 years old. They discovered that boys with a strong vocabulary showed a dramatic increase in their ability to self-regulate as compared to boys with vocabularies not as strong.

Research in Action: ABC Music & Me

ABC Music & Me supports the development of key school-readiness skills, such as listening, self-control, and turn-taking. Our weekly lessons also significantly boost language and literacy skills, including vocabulary development. Picture vocabulary cards support unit-by-unit vocabulary, comprehension, memory, and pre-literacy skills. We give teachers the tools they need to increase a child???s vocabulary knowledge and then actively begin ???using their words??? in the class.

Ron Huxley Regulates: I was drawn to this article at the work “regulation.” This has become a big word in children’s mental health and hopefully parenting education will follow suite. Attachment researcher Daniel Siegal defines regulations as “the way the mind organizes its own functioning???fundamentally related to the modulation of emotion???Emotion regulation is initially developed from within interpersonal experiences in a process that establishes self-organizational abilities.???

Stated in plain English, regulation is how children achieve self-control and manage impulses. Language, as the original blog post describes assists us in forming structure to our emotional energy and manage them. It is crucial in our brain development and connects to other important social constructs like moral behavior, abstract thinking/reasoning, planning, and judgement.

A question we could ponder is which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do we develop language and then achieve regulation or do we achieve regulation and then master language. I think they go together myself.

Share your thoughts…

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10 Tools for Positive Attachment | Psychology Today

It’s never too late to have a close relationship with someone you love. If you had a connection before, you can have it again. If you need a model for building a good relationship, consider what the word “attachment” spells out:

 

A: Attachment is about creating a bond with those you love. It requires that you accept life’s imperfections and get okay with things being “good enough.” When you have a good attachment with the ones you love almost any obstacle can be overcome.

T: Touch is a very important part of being attached. If you’re not getting enough, talk with your mate about it. Physical connection is a necessary part of creating a healthy attachment. If you don’t want or need to be touched, that’s okay, but if your partner isn’t on the same page, it will chip away at your foundation.

T: Thoughtfulness means that, even in times of strife, you somehow always manage to consider your partner first. You need to want your partner to be happy, and thinking about him or her should make you happy.

A: Affirming verbally how you feel is very important for many people. To never hear “I love you” from your mate can leave you feeling as though you are not truly wanted. Many men and women need to hear they are valued. This is a case where actions do not speak louder than words.

C: Connecting with your partner by looking into his or her eyes, holding hands, and just saying “thank you for being in my life” or holding each other tightly for several minutes are both powerful tools. Give them a shot.

H: Hoping for a better tomorrow is critical for relationships that are in healing mode. If you both honestly commit to working on your relationship together, you will have the best chance of getting through a rough patch.

M: Memories of happier times will help you find the strength you need to get things back on track if you have lost your feelings of attachment. Knowing that you were once in love can give you the motivation you need to find it again.

E: Emotional availability and support are the cornerstones of a loving intimate relationship. Your partner needs to know that you’re going to be there for him or her.

N: Needing another person is not a sign of weakness. Yes, people can be too needy, and insecure behavior can make it difficult for a couple to bond appropriately. But everyone needs to feel valued and that his or her feelings won’t be dismissed.

T: Trusting that you are loved is essential. If you have any doubts, it’s best to sit down and talk about them. Communicating, verbally and nonverbally, is the best tool for creating what you want.

After a little time, what you may find is that your partner isn’t perfect and neither are you. Of course, that means that your relationship isn’t perfect either. It is, however, good enough.

 

Ron Huxley’s Additions: As a family therapist, parenting educator and parents, I welcome any movements toward building strong families. It is what the Parenting Toolbox web site has always been about. These 10 tools give some great advice on how to establish the building blocks of relationships. It is actually based on some serious science but that isn’t important here. Practice these parenting tools today.

10 Things to Banish from the Dinner Table

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Ron Huxley’s Recommends: Here is some good old fashioned advice on how to improve table manners and build better family attachments. Ivillage.com lists ten things to banish from your table:

1. Cell Phones.
2. Salt.
3. Contentious conversation.
4. Unhealthy fats.
5. Corn syrups.
6. Germs.
7. Toys and games.
8. Messy dress.
9. Dangerous dishes.
10. The television!

What do you do to build family unity around the table? Share your thoughts here or post them to us on Twitter and Facebook.

Children of depressed mothers have a different brain: MRI scans show their children have an enlarged amygdala

ScienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2011) ??? Researchers think that brains are sensitive to the quality of child care, according to a study that was directed by Dr. Sonia Lupien and her colleagues from the University of Montreal published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists worked with ten year old children whose mothers exhibited symptoms of depression throughout their lives, and discovered that the children’s amygdala, a part of the brain linked to emotional responses, was enlarged.

Similar changes, but of greater magnitude, have been found in the brains of adoptees initially raised in orphanages. Personalized attention to children’s needs may be the key factor. “Other studies have shown that mothers feeling depressed were less sensitive to their children’s needs and were more withdrawn and disengaged,” explained Drs. Sophie Parent and Jean S??guin of the University of Montreal’s, who followed the children over the years.

Scientists have established that the amygdala is involved in assigning emotional significance to information and events, and it contributes to the way we behave in response to potential risks. The need to learn about the safety or danger of new experiences may be greater in early life, when we know little about the world around us. Indeed, studies on other mammals, such as primates, show that the amygdala develops most rapidly shortly after birth. “We do not know if the enlargement that we have observed is the result of long-term exposure to lower quality care. But we show that growing up with a depressed mother is associated with enlarged amygdala.”

“Having enlarged amygdala could be protective and increase the probability of survival,” Lupien said. The amygdala may be protective through a mechanism that produces stress hormones known as glucocorticoids. The researchers noted that the glucocorticoids levels of the children of depressed mothers who participated in this study increased significantly when they were presented with unfamiliar situations, indicating increased reactivity to stress in those children. Adults who grew up in similar circumstances as these children show higher levels of glucocorticoids and a greater glucocorticoid reaction when participating in laboratory stress tests. “What would be the long term consequences of this increased reactivity to stress is unknown at this point.”

Although this study cannot clarify the causes of enlarged amygdala, the researchers note that the adoption studies have also shown that children who were adopted earlier in life and into more affluent families than others did not have enlarged amygdala. “This strongly suggests that the brain may be highly responsive to the environment during early development and confirms the importance of early intervention to help children facing adversity,” Lupien said. “Initiatives such as prenatal and infancy nurse home visits and enriched day care environments could mitigate the effects of parental care on the developing brain.” S??guin adds, “Future studies testing the effects of these preventive programs and observational studies involving children exposed to maternal depressive symptoms at different ages, and consequently for different lengths of time, should provide more insight into how this occurs, its long term consequences, and how it can be prevented.”

This study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on August 15, 2011, and was financed in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and Fonds de recherche en sant?? du Qu??bec. The University of Montreal is officially known as Universit?? de Montr??al.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Montreal, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

As a therapist working with adopted children, I can see how this adaptation plays out in a child’s everyday life. An enlarged Amygdala allows the child to protect themselves and seek emotional “nurturance” from their environment. Unfortunately, this result in an over reaction to events and misinterpretations of hostile behavior on the part of other people in their lives. Too many children, due to severe abuse and neglect, in their early moments of life, have an inability to modulate sensory input and become labeled as “disruptive”, “reactionary”, and “attachment disordered”. While these labels are true, they brand the child into negative roles of “defiant”, “oppositional”, “manipulative”, and “damaged”.

When I am presented with these labels I simply agree with the surface description but make a point to ask why are they manipulative, etc. The goal is to dig to the root of the problem and focus on it, in collaboration with the child to work on changing this pattern of behavior. Too many labels identify the child with the problem and leave the situation feeling hopeless, even permanent. It is not permanent but lots of therapeutic effort is needed to make changes. The alternative is to place the individual into institutions where we know hope is limited and opportunities for repair, namely bonding with a healthy caregiver, is not possible.

Attachment Disordered Children – Radio Show Interview with Ron Huxley

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Image by Southworth Sailor via Flickr

If you didn’t catch my radio show interview this morning you can listen to the archived mp3 at http://toginet.com/shows/theparentsplate/articles/1314Brenda Nixon, host of the Parents Plate radio show, invited me to chat about the controversial diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and the current state of mental health treatment of traumatized children today. I shared some great ideas in our hour long discussion that you will want to listen in on…everything from how children are diagnosed to attachment neuroscience to practical parenting tools. I even shared on why children with attachment impairments “Monster Up!” – a phrase I coined.Take a moment to download or stream the show at http://toginet.com/shows/theparentsplate/articles/1314

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