Attachment theory speaks to the relationships between individuals. John Bowlby, a well-known psychologist, and psychiatrist was the originator of this theory. Attachment theory highlights the fact that having a secure bond with a mother or father in one’s childhood is imperative for one’s development. If the bond between a child and their primary caregiver is a strong one, then that child feels safe enough to explore the world around them. If a child is not securely attached, that child will not have the confidence needed to engage in such exploration.
4 Types of Attachment
Securely attached – children feel a strong bond with their primary caregiver(s) and therefore, develop a strong sense of trust as well an ability to connect with other children (in kindergarten etc.) as they have excellent social skills. They feel a sense of safety with their primary caregiver(s) and when faced with danger, they make their way towards that primary caregiver(s).
Insecure avoidant – here, the child does not have a bond with their primary caregiver(s) because they do not believe they can rely on that primary caregiver(s). When such a child cries, the caregiver will be dismissive of their feelings and will not nurture them – they may even silence them.
Insecure ambivalent – Children with this type of attachment tend to be clingy with their primary caregiver(s). In some instances, when they are upset and their caregiver attempts to comfort them, such attempts usually fail and oftentimes the caregiver is rejected. This can be frustrating and confusing for the caregiver. The child does not know who they can rely on or who can effectively sooth them when they are in need.
Disorganized – When inconsistency is present in the parenting of their caregivers, the child will show an array of attachment behaviours. Sometimes the caregiver will be loving and responsive to the needs and feelings of the child and other times the caregiver will be intimidating and dismissive.
Various mental health conditions are a result of one’s attachment style. Attachment styles affect adult relationships, sobriety, and social advancement. It has been discovered that those who had poor relationships with their mothers who were their primary caregivers in their childhoods, were more susceptible to stress, poor health outcomes, and substance abuse as adults.
But, there’s always hope, and a non-judgmental and empathetic therapist can help you 😊
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