Attachment disorder is transmitted intergenerationally. Children lacking secure attachments with caregivers commonly grow up to be parents who are incapable of establishing this crucial foundation with their own children. Instead of following the instinct to protect, nurture and love their children, they abuse, neglect and abandon. The situation is out of control. Consider the following:
* The number of children seriously injured by maltreatment quadrupled from 1986 (140,000) to 1993 (600,000).
* Three million cases of maltreatment were investigated by Child Protective Services in 1995. Over one million were confirmed as serious abuse and/or neglect with risk for continued maltreatment. Surveys indicated the actual number of cases are 10 to 16 times higher.
* Child Protective Services are unable to handle the vast increases; only 28% of seriously maltreated children were evaluated in 1993 compared to 45% in 1986.
* One in 10 children and adolescents in the U.S. today has emotional problems so severe that they cannot function normally.
* 21% of children in the U.S. ages 9 to 17 have diagnosable mental or addictive disorders.
* The current generation of children is more likely to be depressed and anxious than its parents' generation; the number of children and teens taking medication for depression (Prozac) and ADHD (Ritalin) more than doubled between 1987 and 1996.
* Since the 1980's, the number of murders committed by youths has soared 168% and suicides increased 140%; suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people.
* 2000 children in the U.S. die each year from abuse and neglect.
* One in four adolescents is at risk of not achieving a productive and fulfilling adulthood; 50% report smoking marijuana, 30% use other illicit drugs, and one-third engage in binge drinking; 20% consider suicide; 40% witness serious violence; and 11% drop out of high school.
* 15% of 18 to 24 year olds are "disconnected;" almost 4 million young adults are not in school or working, a disturbing trend (Quartz & Sejnowski 2002; Institute for American Values 2003; Kids Count 2004).
Monday, June 22, 2009
The following is not to say there is nothing we can do about attachment disorders. It is to point out that to be aware of the ever increasing problem of a generation with attachment disorders is critical. And that there are ways to reach kids with attachment issues.