Role of Attachment Patterns in a Child’s Life

Parenting |

It has been observed that the survival of humans as social beings depends on their ability to make and sustain relationships. Strong healthy relationships play crucial role in everyone’s life. They offer a sense of belonging, emotional security and comfort especially at the stage of childhood. The experiences faced during infancy shape up the personality of a person and impact the decisions related to the formation of the relationship in the future. This concept of understanding how childhood attachment affects adult relationship is known as the Attachment Theory developed by a British psychoanalyst John Bowlby who asserted that during the first six months of a child’s life, children need to develop a close bond with their parents.

This is extremely important for normal social and emotional development of every child. When child forms an emotional bond with the parents, it gives a sense of safety and positive view of life. On the other hand, when a child ends up sharing a weak bond with the parents, it leads to an uncertain and unhealthy attachment resulting into an insecure, afraid and negative mind-set for the rest of the life. Children, who fail to have this healthy attachment, become desperate for love and lean more towards crying, clinging and searching. It also hampers their trust for the people and the surrounding which make them reserve, pessimistic and confident.

According to the Attachment Theory, few patterns of attachment have been identified. Depending on the care a child experiences, there are four patterns of attachment that can be developed in early childhood.

Do these patterns affect the adulthood? These patterns determine overall attachment style in the adult life. They show how we connect with someone romantically and how we emotionally respond when a loved one is separated from us.

Secure & Healthy Attachment

According to this pattern, the child experiences secure and warm attachment with the parents. Parents are always around the child and ensure that their child is safe, understood, and calm enough to experience optimal development of his or her nervous system. The child’s developing brain organizes itself to provide with the best foundation for life: a feeling of safety that results in eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust, and empathy. This attachment is considered as the best one among all the other patterns. It has been observed that over 55% show secure attachment pattern in their parent-child relationships.

often ignorant and indifferent towards their child. Harsh punishments, abusive blames and unfair comparisons from the parents make the child feel completely insecure around them. As a result, the child starts avoiding them because their presence can cause distress and uneasiness for him/her. This broken relationship reaches a stage when separation from the parents doesn’t affect the child at all. According to the surveys and various experiments, it has been observed that about 20% of children show this pattern with their primary caregivers.

They display certain behaviors so that their parents can be around them just because most of the time their parents aren’t available for them. The children don’t feel like exploring the environment in the absence of their parents.

But, the point to be observed here is that when these children are with their parents, they display the emotions of anger and stubbornness. They become anxious and resistant to attachment. About 10% children show this pattern in the relationship resulting exaggerated attachment needs. Due to inconsistent parent child communication, the children grow up to be anxious and insecure adults who crave for closeness and intimacy, show extreme dependency on their partners, can suffocate the relationship by not giving enough space to breathe. They become needy and are scared of losing the loved ones; controlling, unpredictable and craving for reassurance are the marked attributes of these people.

Disorganized Attachment

The children feel unhappy and disoriented due to the feeling of insecurity around their parents who display inconsistent behavior, maltreatment etc. About 15% of children show this kind of attachment. It is also known as severe form of insecure attachment. According to this concept, the children develop negative self-image, end up with a toxic relationship with their partners, become abusive and aggressive; insensitive and entrusting, have unresolved thoughts, emotions and attitude.

Hence, it can be said that children’s relationship with the parents determines the gravity of their own relationships in the future. But it is not necessary that an abusive past can ruin the present and future completely.

There is a hope that by changing the mind and forgetting the abusive past, children turning into adults may beautify their lives. By enhancing their self-image and confidence they can apply the ointment of love and care on the emotional wounds to be healed forever.

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