I am guilty of listing every behavior under the sun as “attachment challenged” behavior. This is a relative misnomer I know I am making, but there isn’t a good, easy way of calling out what many of us experience every day. So, for expedience (not necessarily clinical accuracy), I generically label. Mea culpa.
That said, I want to highlight a reality common to many of us–our children are often extremely concrete, lacking what some might call “theory of mind.” Theory of mind is what most of us who had a “good enough” mother/child connection in the early months take for granted–the ability to flexibly toggle between our inside and outside realities.
Many of our children have a very difficult time with subjectivity and objectivity in life. What is inside their minds and what is outside their minds is blurred and confusing to them. Our kids think that what they think is what everyone thinks. If you are reading this and you are having a hard time following what I am saying, then you may have had difficulty in your very early months, too (or I might be doing a terrible job explaining this.)
Upshot: this way of being is a personality style forged in the early months when one’s “mother” attends to a child’s
every need and engages the child reciprocally, interactively and connectedly. Or not. The “or not” is the point here.
Your child is not being stupid, difficult, oppositional, or intentionally moronic (which are some labels I have heard from parents, and sadly used at points in my parenting life.) Our children were deprived of essential attachment and bonding experiences in the first few months of life that last throughout childhood. While there are some ways this can evolve and change over time, it is just as likely that this concrete, lack of cognitive flexibility will persist throughout life. This knowledge is intended to conjure empathy and patience. I hope you are getting that.