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Blog: Help… my child gets attached to strangers!

Attachment comes in different forms but is nearly always rooted in a child’s early stages of life. However, if and when dealing with attachment issues, there are things that can be done.

Babies are born with a biological drive to seek proximity to a protective adult for survival in the form of attachment. Depending on how fulfilling the attachment was, it determines a child’s outlook. For example, a child who can easily form an attachment to any adult, including strangers, could be a result of their early experience, where the emotional or physical needs were not met. The child would soon learn to look to everyone around them for care and develop a habit of finding affection from anyone to make them feel safe.

Despite having loving and caring adoptive parents, it may take a while for the child to adjust and begin to understand relationships. It’s important to understand that a child’s behaviour and affection towards strangers as a result of attachment issues, doesn’t reflect on the relationship a child has with the adoptive parent.

As the child grows up, they will subconsciously rely on all of their core needs being met by the parents and will stop seeking fulfilment from strangers. This form of attachment will slowly change as a result of their social development.

This is only one style of attachment amongst many but, in any case, it’s important to show a child a loving relationship and keep an eye on them so they don’t get too friendly with strangers!

Communication is key when it comes to attachment. It will be important for a child to learn appropriate behaviours through social stories and teaching a young child of what to expect in different social scenarios.

When it comes to social skills and development, teaching with picture narratives and working alongside a school can also be helpful, including the recognition of ‘stranger danger’. It’s something a child may not be able to do but will learn alongside their peers in school.