Childhood Attachment and Bonding

During the first year of life, children form strong bonds with their parents and caregivers. You might not think that children are aware of much during that first year, but in reality they are forming very important bonds with people around them. These bonds will lead to an attachment style being adopted by the child; and, each child’s individual attachment style will depend on the types of interaction he or she has with his or her caregivers.

There are four main types of Childhood attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious-resistant insecure attachment, anxious avoidant insecure attachment, and disorganized attachment.

Children who are happy and healthy will typically display secure attachment.  These children understand that their parents will return to them, and they probably don’t cry or fuss a lot when their parents are separated from them, as they are secure in the knowledge that they will come back. To help keep your child secure, snuggle with them, be calm around them, and be consistent with your bonding.  Insecure children consist of those with anxious avoidant, anxious-resistant and disorganized insecure attachment. These children are often frightened, crying when their parents leave their side, but also seeming wholly unconcerned when their parents return. These children are anxious, unsure of what will happen next, so they waffle between wanting parental attention and shunning it.

Children with insecure attachment styles have often witnessed or endured abuse, inconsistent bonding, or live in an environment that is filled with stress.  Avoid this scenario by providing your child with a calm environment, plenty of love, and a lot of positive interaction. Children who are secure in their attachments are often happier and healthier throughout life, forming stronger, more psychologically-balanced relationships.

If you suspect that your child is not bonding properly, or you would like to form better bonds with your child, please seek the advice of a licensed therapist.