Reactive Attachment Disorder in Troubled Teenage Girls 

Many parents can attest: raising a teenage girl can be a turbulent and trying endeavor. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how grounded, and emotionally resolute an adolescent child seems to be; the fact remains: unprovoked hostility, drastic mood swings, and emotional outbreaks are inherent to the teenage condition. Simply put, parents need to be prepared when raising an adolescent daughter.

But What About Parents of Adopted Teenagers?

New research shows that adopted adolescents act out more at a higher rate than teens who were raised by their birth parents. Some adopted children are angrier, more impulsive, and less inclined to listen to reasoning than children who were not adopted.

This is not to say that adopted teens are prone to being ‘bad.’ It is simply because some adopted teens suffer from abandonment issues. Moreover, with a still-developing frontal lobe in charge of decision making and impulsivity, the complexities that come from feeling abandoned by their birth parents catch the teen by surprise just as it does their adopted parents.  

Understanding Why Adopted Teens Act Out

So, why do adopted children tend to act out more than children whose birth parents raise them? Before parents can help their children, it is crucial to understand the underlying issues contributing to their struggling adopted child's misbehavior.

Adopted teens are prone to suffer from separation and abandonment issues. These separation issues may lie dormant until the child reaches puberty - which can catch parents off guard, leaving them at a loss as to why their child chooses to act on negative behaviors, seemingly out of the blue.

It is imperative for parents who notice a sudden change in their adopted child to understand that there are deep-rooted, emotional, underlying issues that are most likely causing their child to act out. Furthermore, adopted children with attachment and abandonment issues most likely suffer from a reactive attachment disorder or RAD disorder.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

RAD is a common disorder that affects children who were adopted after birth. RAD occurs in children who failed to establish a natural bond between themselves and their caregivers. For various reasons, RAD victims are afflicted with emotional deficiencies that prevent them from forming genuine relationships with anyone around them.

The age at which a child is adopted does not necessarily affect their chances of developing a reactive attachment disorder. Some studies suggest that children develop a bond with their mothers while they are in the womb. This early establishment of a bond between mother and child can cause an infant to develop RAD as soon as that bond is broken.

In other words, the development of RAD is not the fault of the child or their adopted parents. Rather, it is an unfortunate combination of environmental and social disturbances that are completely out of the child's and parent's control. 

Know the Signs of RAD and Get Help!

It is essential for a parent of a teen who suffers from RAD not to panic but seek immediate therapeutic assistance for their child. Although RAD is a severe psychological condition, it can easily be treated with a reputable residential treatment center’s psychiatric care.

By seeking and implementing therapeutic intervention early on in a child’s diagnosis, an adolescent who suffers from RAD is more likely to overcome their psychological shortcomings and live a healthy, successful life. 

Clearview Girls Academy Has Over 25 Years of Experience in Treating Reactive Attachment Disorder

For over 25 years, Clearview Girls Academy has treated teenage girls’ severe, underlying mental health-related issues. Among our specialties is treating girls who live with Reactive Attachment Disorder. 

Trust-Based Intervention® at Clearview

The secret to our success in treating reactive attachment disorder lies within our brand's own dynamic treatment method, Trust-Based Intervention. 

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children who live with RAD. TBRI® uses "Empowering Principles" to approach physical needs, "Connecting Principles" for attachment needs, and "Correcting Principles: to reconcile fear-based behaviors.

At Clearview Academy, we employ the principles and training taught through Trust-based Relational Intervention® as taught through the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.

The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development strives to help children suffering from the effects of early trauma, abuse, and/or neglect, such as RAD.

The institute conducts research to deepen understanding of children’s complex needs with trauma and help them overcome social, behavioral, and emotional challenges.

Clearview Girls Academy professionals have been certified as trainers in Karyn Purvis Institute's "Trust-Based Relational Intervention® Program."

Trust-based Relational Intervention Program is a research-based, holistic model developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross.

Are you the parent of a teenage girl who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder? If so, don’t hesitate to get help today! For more information and immediate assistance, please call us at

(888) 796-5484.