Parents and caregivers have to play several roles. They need to provide comfort, and care to their children, all while disciplining them from time to time.
Though, we all know that the relation between children and their parents is sacred, sometimes parents fail to provide their children comfort, care and nurturing. Whether it be because of caregiver’s busy lifestyle or negligence.
This may not seem like a big deal in the beginning, but parents are actually shaping their children’s future. A negligence from their part can leave a life-long scar on their children.
Some people develop into distant or clingy beings and other grow up being overly sentimental. And then there are others who know how to maintain their boundaries since childhood.
These contrast characteristics of people are based on the type of attachment style children develop during their childhood.
What is Attachment Style Theory?
In simple words, Attachment style refers to the way a person interacts with people around them and it is influenced by our relationship with our caregivers.
Atrachment style is said to develop between the age of 18 months to 2 years.
The theory talk about how the relationship between a child and their caregiver shapes the child’s future life.
How did Attachment Theory Develop?
In 1970s, Mary Ainsworth, a psychologist, noticed a strange behavior among children in regards to their caregiver.
She conducted research where the participants ranged from the age of 18 months to 12 years. The children were separated from their caregivers for some time and later reconciled.
Their response led Ainsworth to conclude that there are 3 types of attachment style.
- Secure attachment
- Ambivalent Insecure attachment
- Avoidant Insecure attachment
Later, researchers Main and Solomon, added a 4th type to the list –
- Disorganized insecure attachment
If this theory wasn’t enough to convince you the importance of having good strong bond with the caregivers, then this study surely will,
Maternal Deprivation Study
In one of the Harley Harrow’s experiment, couple of newborn rhesus monkeys were separated from their mothers and reared by artificial surrogate ones made of wool and wire.
The newborns could go to surrogate mothers that were either bare-wired or cloth covered.
Though they went to bare-wired mother for food, when they were frightened, they would run to cloth-covered mother.
Thus, emphasizing the role of caregiver or mother.
Different types of Attachment Styles
As I mentioned above, there are 4 different types of attachment style. They determine how well we will interact in the society and our significants too.
Though attachment style is influenced significantly by the primary caregiver, it can change with their experiences in life. So, With right amount of efforts, it can definitely be changed.
Moving onto the different types of attachment style,
I. Secure Attachment Style
People with Secure attachment style are quite organized with their emotions. They express their sadness and happiness openly.
As children, They seek shelter of their parents or caregiver when they are scared. They are sad when separated from their caregivers and happy when they return and of course, they prefer their caregiver over a stranger.
As an adult, They trust people more and like keeping long-term relations. Also, they have high self-esteem and are more open to express their feelings to others.
As every other attachment style, parents play a significant role in the development of a child’s attachment style.
Caregivers of a securely attached child engage more with their children. They give more time to their child and are more responsive to the child’s needs.
According to a study, children with secure attachment style are found to be more empathetic, less aggressive, and comparatively more mature than those with other attachment styles.
II. Anxious attachment style
When children with ambivalent-insecure attachment style are left alone with a stranger, they clearly seem distressed. They are suspicious of strangers.
Surprisingly, they can’t be comforted successfully even after the care giver returns.
As adults, these people develop into over-dependent and clingy beings. They need continuous reassurance from their partners and become miserable when a relationship ends.
Why they developed this type of bond?
As infants, such people received inconsistent love and affection that they desperately wanted from their parents and caregivers.
Growing up, deep within, they realized that ‘love’ is a conditioned idea that can vanish without warnings. In order to lose it, they become clingy and over-dependent.
This gives them a sense of security.
III. Avoidant Insecure attachment
Children with avoidant insecure attachment style may not reject attention from parents but neither do they seek comfort and care in their caregivers and parents.
Unlike other children, they show no preference between strangers and parents.
As adults, they have difficulty forming close bonds with other people, whether it be socially or romantically and breakups don’t affect them much.
Also, They are least willing to share their feelings with others and prefer spending their life alone.
Why they developed this type of bond?
As Infants, the parents and caregivers of such individuals were mostly emotionally irresponsive or absent from their life.
So, they learned to suppress and and stop expressing their emotions because realized that their need were never met anyway.
IV. Disorganized insecure attachment
Children with Disorganized insecure attachment are a little difficult to understand, as they have a mix of different attachment styles.
When left alone with strangers, they are dazed and apprehensive. The attachment style becomes distinguishable later in life.
Why they develop this type of bond?
This attachment style develops when the actions of parents are inconsistent with their children. They may fear and seek comfort in one person.
As a result, the child is confused.
While attachment style is not the only factor that determines the development of an individual, it is surely a significant factor that every parent and caregiver should care for.
Because some individuals get stuck with the cons of their attachment style and fail to overcome them even when they try their best.
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