Attachment DisorderAttachment is the deep connection established between a child and caregiver that profoundly affects his/her development and ability to express emotions and develop relationships. A child with insecure attachment or an attachment disorder lacks the skills for building meaningful relationships. However, it is possible to repair attachment challenges.Understanding attachment problems and disordersChildren with attachment disorders or other attachment problems have difficulty connecting to others and managing their own emotions. This results in a lack of trust and self-worth, a fear of getting close to anyone, anger, and a need to be in control. A child with an attachment disorder feels unsafe and alone and the disorder has to do with the attachment process, which relies on the interaction of both parent and child.Attachment disorders are the result of negative experiences in this early relationship. If young children feel repeatedly abandoned, isolated, powerless, or uncared for—for whatever reason—they will learn that they can’t depend on others and the world is a dangerous and frightening place.Reactive Attachment Disorder Reactive attachment disorder and other attachment problems occur when children have been unable to consistently connect with a parent or primary caregiver. This can happen for many reasons:A baby cries and no one responds or offers comfort.A baby is hungry or wet, and they aren’t attended to for hours.No one looks at, talks to, or smiles at the baby, so the baby feels alone.A young child gets attention only by acting out or displaying other extreme behaviors.A young child or baby is mistreated or abused.Sometimes the child’s needs are met and sometimes they aren’t. The child never knows what to expect.The infant or young child is hospitalized or separated from his or her parents.A baby or young child is moved from one caregiver to another (can be the result of adoption, foster care, or the loss of a parent).The parent is emotionally unavailable because of depression, an illness, or a substance abuse problem.As the examples show, sometimes the circumstances that cause the attachment problems are unavoidable, but the child is too young to understand what has happened and why. To a young child, it just feels like no one cares and they lose trust in others and the world becomes an unsafe place.Early warning signs and symptoms of insecure attachmentAttachment problems fall on a spectrum, from mild problems that are easily addressed to the most serious form, known as reactive attachment disorder (RAD).Although it is never too late to treat and repair attachment difficulties such as reactive attachment disorder, the earlier symptoms of insecure attachment are seen, then steps can be taken. With early detection, you can avoid a more serious problem. Caught in infancy, attachment problems are often easy to correct with the right help and support.Signs and symptoms of insecure attachment in infantsAvoids eye contactDoesn’t smileDoesn’t reach out to be picked upRejects your efforts to calm, soothe, and connectDoesn’t seem to notice or care when you leave them aloneCries inconsolablyDoesn’t coo or make soundsDoesn’t follow you with his or her eyesIsn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toysSpend a lot of time rocking or comforting themselvesIt’s important to note that the early symptoms of insecure attachment are similar to the early symptoms of other issues such as ADHD and autism. If you spot any of these warning signs, make an appointment with your pediatrician for a professional diagnosis of the problem.