How to Support a Foster Child With Reactive Attachment Disorder

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How to Support a Foster Child With Reactive Attachment Disorder
Support a Foster Child With Reactive Attachment Disorder

Both children and adults can be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), also known as Attachment Disorder (AD). If your foster child has trouble taking direction and often displays aggressive behavior, RAD may be the cause. This child doesn't need discipline as much as he needs your support.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Prepare to conduct extensive researh to understand the foster child with a reactive attachment disorder. Many of these children have suffered some form of abuse. They abuse themselves and others, thinking that's the way to get their needs met. As adults, they bear the scars of not knowing how to trust or love and will require a chance to work out the trauma.

  2. 2

    Find a qualified counselor trained in attachment therapy. Check online for resources, including directories and blogs from parents with children with RAD.

  3. 3

    Search for support groups, online and off, for parents of children with RAD, for siblings and for other relatives of the child with RAD. This is a disorder that affects everyone; everyone close to the child can provide support and affect positive change.

  4. 4

    Learn from the child's therapist various therapeutic parenting skills appropriate to her needs. Some methods normally applied by parents simply won't work with a child with RAD.

  5. 5

    Understand that even after a child (or adult) has worked through an attachment disorder, there may still be issues, such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder and, as one parent said, "The results of his or her having been nobody's priority during their younger years."

Tips and warnings

  • If you notice patterns of a RAD personality in a child or close friend, seek professional help for the child or encourage the adult to seek professional help. RAD is not something untrained parents or friends can treat.

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