Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Are Adopted or Foster Kids More Vunerable to Stranger-Danger? New Term: "Indiscriminate Friendliness."

by John and Diane

A recent UCLA research study has found something that many of us that work with children who have been in foster care or institutionalized in infancy already know and see everyday.  Kids who are separated or neglected by their parents or primary caregivers  early in life are prone to what they are calling "indescriminate friendliness" towards strangers - and anyone really, which can continue throughout their life.

What does this mean? It means that these children, (often your kids with reactive attachment disorders) approach all adults and strangers in somewhat the same manner - with an inappropriate  willingness and outward friendliness. These changes are not simply a habit they picked up to survive in an ever changing world of adults, but actually have a foundation in physical brain-changes that occur due to social neglect.

According to the study, " The early relationship between children and their parents or primary caregivers has implications for their social interaction later in life, and we believe the amygdala is involved in this process," said Aviva Olsavsky, a resident physician in psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the study's first author. "Our findings suggest that even for children who have formed attachments to their adoptive parents, this early period of deprivation has led to changes in the brain that were likely adaptations and that may persist over time."
Indiscriminate friendliness is in some sense a misnomer. The behavior is not characterized by a deep friendliness but simply by a lack of reticence that most young children show toward strangers."

The study, based on MRI examinations in part, raises many additional questions, " What, if any, effects does early maternal deprivation has on children as they move into adulthood? And do these findings also apply to less severe forms of deprivation, such as neglectful home environments? The researchers are continuing to use fMRI to examine the role of parents in brain development and the contribution of early experiences to mental health outcomes later in life."

What do you think?

Read more on the study here at Science Daily

and be sure to read our post : http://fosterparentrescue.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-kids-that-hug-everyone-trust-no-one.html

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  1. I will NEVER forget the first weekend with our (now adopted) daughter when she first came to live with us in a foster-to-adopt situation. We were her fourth foster home at age 2 1/2 years old. Anyway, my husband and I took her out for a walk around our neighborhood. As we were walking, an elderly man came out of his home to collect his mail. Our daughter broke from our hands, ran across the street, hugged this man and wouldn't let go of him--all because he was being friendly by waving and saying hello! She called him Papa, too. It was bizarre and frightening! She still has issues with boundaries, calls every kid her "best friend" and acts outwardly with any person strangers, especially. I truly believe it stems from the rough start in life she had to deal with.

    1. Thanks for your comment Autumn, you are right, it does stem from her neglectful beginning and is a symptom of an attachment disorder most likely. I have updated the above artcle with a link to a post we did a while back called " Why Kids that hug everyone trust no one," let us know what you think...
      thanks for reading and commenting. We appreciate you sharing your story.

  2. We have a three-year old son that was placed with us at the age of eight months. Granted he has an outgoing, talkative personality, but he treats strangers like this as well. As soon as he was able to walk he approached strangers (still does), hugs them, calls them mommy, etc.

    1. Thanks for commenting Kenneth and sharing your story. Even at 8 mo. your child may have already begun to feel the affects of his neglect and begun to develop an attachment disorder, which may now be seen in his behavior towards strangers. I have updated the above article with a link to a post we did a while back "Why do kids that hug everyone trust no one," check it out and let us know what you think....