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Attachment theory basics

Kids in Mind // Education // May 13, 2016

Dr Rebecca Weber is a child psychologist based in Ferney-Voltaire. You know Rebecca from her weekly segment on WRS, Kids in Mind. This is part one in Rebecca's series on attachment.

Attachment theory basics

Listen to part two: Attachment parenting and part three: Positive parenting

For the full version of this Kids in Mind segment on attachment, listen to the above audio.

What is attachment?

Attachment is the bond between child and parent, which is central child development. For us as adults it is how we relate to our children and partners. Infants on the other hand are dependent on a caregiver who must translate their communication to meet their needs. This is the foundation for a secure attachment for a child.

Do we attach in the same way?

No, researchers have developed four main types of attachment:

Secure attachment

  • Child can separate from parent but is happy when parent returns

  • Child seeks comfort (when scared) from parent

  • Parents of securely attached are responsive to their child’s needs

Ambivalent attachment

  • Child is very suspicious of strangers

  • Child is very stressed when separated from a parent and do not feel safe even after reunited with a parent

Avoidant attachment

  • Children with an avoidant attachment show no preference between a parent and a complete stranger

Disorganized-insecure attachment

  • Child's actions and responses to parents are often a mix of behaviors, including avoidance or resistance

  • Child sometimes seems either confused or apprehensive in the presence of a parent

Besides making separations easier- what is important about secure attachment?

  • Allows for the child to grow and develop in the best way possible
  • The cycle of communication and response between child and caregiver lays the groundwork for the child's social and emotional development
  • It is the foundation for a child’s ability to connect with others

Kids in Mind is brought to you by The British School of Geneva.

Thanks Rebecca, for more information please contact her at rebeccaweber.net.

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