Thursday, April 24, 2014

Biblical View of Reactive Attachment Disorder


* They should find it in God's Word, ministered by the church.  But desperate parents often turn to the secular community, which has embraced the problem, offering support groups,  literature, and residential treatment facilities.  Those Christian resources specific to RAD which are available are generally not biblical.  They simply echo the secular theories and add on some Scripture like a lemon slice in a glass of tea. 

*  Secular and Christian psychologists propose that RAD occurs as a reaction to neglect and/or abuse in early infancy.  Lack of attachment develops from a broken bonding cycle, unmet needs, and disorganized brain development, which prevents the child from bonding with a caregiver, from trusting anyone, and from developing a conscience.

Scripture teaches a different view.  A child who displays the behaviors fitting the reactive attachment disorder label is reacting to mistreatment with fear and anger.  He wants to control his environment in order to gain safety and justice and these desires and behaviors have become habits.

*  Attachment theories are man's philosophies.  Scripture is the truth.  Following are truths from Scripture that have a bearing on our view from attachment.

-People are not evolved animals.
-Viewing man as an evolved mammal reduces human behavior to a biological level, removing morality from human behavior and discarding responsibility.  It erases motive, desire, will, and God from the equation.  Children are reduced to trainable blank slates.

Reminds me of this book...and why we home-educate.  

-The mind is not the brain.  
-The idea that the mind is an entirely biologically-based process is endemic to attachment literature.
-Saying that dysregulated neural networks explain misbehavior is only semantics away from saying that the brain directs thoughts and behavior. 

(I have never used the term "dysregulated"  It does not sit well with me.  Now, I understand better why.)

* Genetics and brain damage cannot overrule the mind.
-Because the brain does not determine moral choice, attachment theory is wrong in its doctrine that a brain problem incapacitates the child so that he cannot behave sociably.  Genetics and chemistry influence, but they do not rule.
-Physiology does not control man; the heart does.
-It is the immaterial--desire and volition--that initiates moral actions.

*Responsibility is not outside the child.
-In attachment theory, the child is presumed to be innately good, just sick, brain damaged, or victimized.  He would comply if he could, but he cannot because of his disorganized brain development.  It basically says, "My parents made me do it" so that "My brain made me do it."  The child is exonerated and incapacitated.

Attachment therapy undercuts hope because forgiveness is not available.  A sick person needs healing, not forgiveness.  But if guilt is admitted in a situation, then forgiveness also becomes a possibility.  So does freedom from guilt.

*The goal of all attachment therapies is a well-behaved, or at least a better-behaved child.  The goal is sadly temporal.  The child who is a therapy success becomes a well behaved sinner rather than a  "dysregulated" sinner, but he is still an unforgiven sinner.  His eternal destiny remains the same.  Thought and behavior change while old desires to live man's way remain.  Still not under God's authority, he is only a new and improved autonomous man, repackaged to be socially acceptable.

At the end of the day, when considering the RAD child who steals, what we still have to reckon with is, "You shall not steal." (Exodus 20:15)



I highly recommend this book for those who are living with RAD or for those who know someone who is.

I'm going through it again today...this time with a highlighter.  I will post whatever jumps out as me as important.  


This manuscript showed up at our home today.  Out of the clear blue sky.  Unsolicited.

I read it all the way through in one sitting.

Many of the sections I read out loud.... to my husband and to Girlie and whichever siblings were within earshot.

Confirmations all the way around.   For every one of us.  This is the most Biblical discussion of RAD we have ever come across.

Lines up 100% with our thinking.

I am crying.

Because The Lord is so faithful.

He has led me to a like-minded therapist who speaks the language I have attempted to communicate here on this blog for so many years now.

I'm pretty sure the copy I have is the working draft of Parenting the Difficult Child: A Biblical Perspective on RAD.  

The fact that this arrived today...sent by a friend...speaks to my heart.  You see...another in a different state than the first friend sent me a message just last week asking if I had read it.  I told her I planned to but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  

It is literally as if the Lord dropped it into my lap and said, " this."  (not audibly) 

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”     C.S. Lewis




Ruth P said...

Thank you, Dawn, for this. I would like to read this as well. So glad to have a Biblical perspective about this. Would love to hear about the solution strategies!!