The Price is much to high – but there is hope!

The Ultimate Price Paid for Violent Acts in Families & Against Young Children

Harvard Felton Earls summarizes the ultimate societal price paid out in violent acts as follows: “The rising tide of abuse and neglect of children usually occurs during the critical period when children are developing ‘moral emotions.’   These are emotions rooted in brain chemistry and are established in the first three years of life.”

Trauma due to abuse and neglect result in ‘disrupted attachment’.  Left untreated it has devastating social and emotional effects upon the family as described by Keck & Kupecky (1995):

  • Indiscriminate affection toward strangers
  • Lack of affection with parents on their terms
  • Little eye contact with parents
  • Lying about the obvious
  • Stealing
  • Destructive behavior to self, to other, and to material things
  • Abnormal eating patterns
  • No impulse controls, hyperactivity
  • Learning difficulties
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Lack of conscience
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Preoccupation with fire
  • Crippled ability to attach to any human being

How to Treat Disrupted Attachment 

A baby and young child’s brain has a type of window of opportunity like none other to build synapses (the start of new brain patterns) and hard wiring that will last a life time.  As foster parents we therefore have to focus on cultivating intense emotional well-being in infants and young children placed in our care.

There are many models for improving the attachment between foster/ child and /parent.  One of them are ‘The Circle of Security Project’ (Marvin, Cooper, Hoffman, & Powell, 2002).  The model necessitates strong family involvement and their training protocol are earmarked by the following objectives for the foster/ parents to:

  1. Grow more sensitive and responsive to their child’s signals.
  2. Increase their ability to consider their own behavior as well as the child’s behavior along with their thoughts and emotions about the attachment building interactions.
  3. To consider experiences in their own backgrounds that impact their parenting styles.

The Circle of Security train foster/ parents to become familiarized with their own history of security as it developed for them as young children.   They learn to rethink the cues from their foster/ children that in the past have caused them to grow frustrated, angry or distant, resulting in all the more difficulty with building a secure attachment with their child.   The strategies used in the program are based upon the understanding of what have been identified as four patterns of attachment (Marvin & Britner, 1995):

  • The secure child-autonomous parent
  • The insecure, avoidant-dismissing
  • The insecure, ambivalent
  • The insecure, “disordered” pattern.

The developers of Circle of Security state that as the pattern of attachment and communication shifts within the foster/ parent, the foster/ child’s level of attachment and relational exchange shifts as well (Marvin et al, 2002).


About Helouise Steenkamp

I'm a 45 plus, Devoted Wife and Mother. Adonai has blessed us with two Amazingly Wonderful Sons. We have had the privilege of being Place of Safety parents for 1 1/2 years and there after foster parents to a Darling Princess for 5 years. She was reconciled with her biological parents in Dec'14. Our hearts are still aching from the loss, but we know that as we trust Adonai with our salvation, so we can trust Him with her future. We welcomed our new 4 year old foster child on 05JUN'15.
This entry was posted in Behavioral Issues, Foster Care Advice, Helping to bring Healing, Parenting with Love, Place of Safety Advice, Trauma: The Impact on Children and How to Help them. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Price is much to high – but there is hope!

  1. hettie burger says:

    hi Helouise, dankie vir die nuttige inligting- ek kon ongelukkig nie die Circle of Security hierdie jaar bywoon nie, maar gaan beslis volgende jaar indien daar n geleentheid voorkom , dit bywoon. ek werk daagliks met kleingoed, maar hierdie is kleingoed wat uit goeie huise kom met amper geen of dalk bitter min probleme. Ek wil so graag vir Marizelle beter verstaan en weet waarom sy soms vreemd optree. ek het nog nooit haar “leer” gelees nie en weet net wat die Maatskaplike werker my vertel het (bolangs geraak). wat stel jy voor? en van al die wonderlike boeke ……watter een kan ek my tweede bybel maak? dankie ek waardeer baie. Hettie

    Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 08:04:50 +0000 To:

    • Goeie naand Hettie. Agter in die pleegouer handleiding bl. 111, is ‘n lys van boeke wat aanbeveel word. Ek beveel hulle almal aan.
      Pleegouers het die reg om hul pleegkind se leer te mag lees. Vra jou werker daarvoor tydens jul volgende besoek. Groete.

    • Goeie more Hettie. As jy regtig ‘n praktiese, insiggewende en saamdra boek soek … kry so gou as moontlik “The Connected Child” deur Karyn B Purvis en David R Cross – Die boek sal julle as pleeggesin se lewens verander! Ek beveel dit 100% aan vir enige pleeggesin! Mens kan dit by Exclusive Books of bestel.

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