I recline on the bed, taking deep breaths, unwinding, and destressing from the day. I can hear the children playing in the next room. I relax even more. Suddenly, a small body hits mine and lays all their weight on me. A small voice says, “Hi.” I open my eyes, “What do you want?” A string of words pours out, but not all are clear. What’s clear, though, is the need to touch me. The need to be touched in return. Despite wanting more alone time, I hug the small body close because I know they need it.
My response to this situation creates a secure attachment style within the child. Attachment styles are how we behave and interact in relationships. These attachment styles are formed during childhood and shape adult behavior. John Bowlby introduced attachment theory in the 1960s. There are four attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized.
Children who are securely attached will seek comfort from parents when scared, prefer parents to strangers, and welcome their parents’ return. Parents of securely attached children are responsive to the child’s needs.
Children with anxious attachment behavior tend to be clingy and over-dependent due to unavailable parents. Their needs as children were not met consistently.
Avoidant attachment behavior manifests when parents are absent, and children are rejected for expressing their feelings.
Disorganized attachment manifests when children are consistently frightened by their parents.
Producing children that are securely attached should be a primary focus. These children grow into adults with strong self-esteem, and they can build trusting relationships.
Thinking of all these things can be overwhelming, especially if we feel we don’t have the skills to raise a securely attached child. The Attachment Project focuses on adults discovering their attachment styles and gives tips on raising a child with secure attachment.
Make the steps today to produce a child that is secure.
If you want additional ways to help your child, check out Powerful Words to Say to Your Child.
Schultz, Kelsey. “Attachment Styles: Definitions, Types, and Theory.” Web blog post. Berkeley Well-Being Institute. Web. 24 May 2023.
Cherry, Kendra. “The Different Types of Attachment Styles.” Web blog post. Very Well Mind. 26 May 2022. Web. 24 May 2023.
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