This post may seem to lack taste but attachment disorder is a big topic within the realms of adoption, and is something I have particular interest in, mainly because of my son. Also I have a possibly incongruous fascination with how the human brain works, a fascination that started during our TAPPS course.
To put into layman’s terms, attachment disorder centres on the failing bond between parent and child – specifically the mother, for what can be a variety of reasons.
Children who suffer neglect, or abuse, be it emotional, psychological or physical often struggle to form attachments properly, as such; this umbrella subject of attachment disorder is strongly related to adoption and adoptive children.
Enough of the lecture – there are hundreds of books on the subject if you want to read up on it – Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain
– is one of my favourites. What I want to do instead is throw a situation out that will hopefully get you thinking.
For reasons I cannot and will not divulge, my son is particularly susceptible to attachment issues. We may be lucky, but we constantly monitor him, and question a lot of what he does, asking ourselves if it simply toddler behaviour, or if there is something deeper.
One such habit is his ability to mirror the timings of my own bowel movements. Now, you may think I am making a mockery of the study of attachment, but hear me out.
The symptoms of attachment disorders manifest themselves in all kinds of ways. Trauma can affect children, but the child’s own resilience can determine how they react. Often it will be behavioural problems, but frequently it is the opposite – by that I mean instead of troubling behaviour, it is ‘angelic’ behaviour.
Often adopted children feel the insecurity and lack of attachment in such a way that they will break their own potential to please their carers or parents, and constantly try to ‘win them over’.
My theory is that my son is insecure to the point where he has altered himself physiologically and made himself need the bathroom (or nappy) when I go myself. I call it ‘motion sync-ness’.
As a stay at home dad, I often have to take him to the bathroom when I need to go. Usually I give him some bath toys to play with, and he will sit on the floor happily occupied. Recently however, he has shown an unnatural curiosity in my actions (and possibly even facial expressions) and has seemingly conditioned himself to copy what I am doing – everything I am doing.
Honestly – it is uncanny, and if this is the case, then quite frankly, I can safely say I have cracked potty training.
Of course I could be way off the mark. This may be the male equivalent of the phenomenon of women’s shared time. That is; women who work or live together for any period of time eventually end up having the same timings on their menstrual cycle.
I don’t know if this behaviour by my son is related to attachment issues. It does however raise the question of how children react to trauma, neglect and instability, and it offers up some food for thought that we can all chew over…