What Is Secure Attachment And How Does It Develop?
The importance of human connection to our health and well-being cannot be overstated. We are all influenced by those we associate with. Some people are naturally good at building relationships, while others may find it a constant struggle. Many factors influence how easily we form relationships, but our attachment to our parents has a significant impact on our ability to engage in meaningful relationships of all types. From the moment we are born, our relationship with our parents influences our development. This has an impact on our ability to form bonds with people other than our caregivers. A solid relationship with your parents helps you develop strong bonds in all of your future relationships. This may appear to be a lot of stress for parents, but it is something that can develop and change over time.
What Is Attachment?
Attachment is a distinct emotional bond defined by an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure. The origins of attachment research can be traced back to Freud’s theories about love, but another researcher widely regarded as the father of attachment theory was John Bowlby, who defined it as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” The idea that early experiences have a significant impact on later development and behavior was shared by Bowlby and the psychoanalytic school of thought. The caregiver-infant relationship shapes early attachment styles in childhood. According to Bowlby, attachment has an evolutionary component and helps with survival. He identified “the proclivity to form strong emotional bonds with specific individuals” as a fundamental feature of human nature.
Attachment through Life
Before you start blaming your parents for your relationship problems, remember that attachment styles developed during childhood are not always the same as those demonstrated in adult romantic attachments. Because so much time has passed between childhood and adulthood, intervening experiences influence adult attachment styles as well.
Adult attachment style was found to be best predicted by people’s perceptions of the quality of their relationships with their parents, as well as their parents’ relationships with each other. However, studies in this field show that childhood patterns have a significant impact on later relationships. Adults with different attachment styles, according to Hazan and Shaver, have different beliefs about relationships.
In emotionally stable adults, romantic love is thought to endure. Adults with ambivalent attachment styles report falling in love frequently, whereas adults with avoidant attachment styles describe love as uncommon and fleeting. While early attachment styles and adult romantic attachment styles are not the same, studies have shown that early attachment styles can help predict adult behavior patterns.
The Developmental Stages of Attachment
The first year of life is critical for the development of a strong attachment. By the end of the first year, a child and caregiver attachment style will have emerged. The baby will experience the stages:
Pre-Attachment Stage: Newborn to 3 months
• Babies have no preference for their caregiver and are soothed by anyone who cares for them.
Indiscriminate Attachment: 6 weeks to 7 months
• Babies prefer their primary caregivers; they can be soothed by people who aren’t their caregivers, but they are better at distinguishing strangers from those they know.
Discriminate Attachment: 7 months to 11 months
• Infants prefer one caregiver over another, and if they are separated from their primary caregiver, they will become upset.
• Babies will now be wary of strangers.
Multiple Attachments: from approximately 9 months on
• Babies can now bond with people other than their caregivers, such as grandparents and older siblings, and be soothed by people other than their caregivers.
Naturally, attachment is not fixed by the time a child turns one. Rather, attachment bonds persist throughout early childhood because a child still relies on a caregiver. These bonds can change over time, as can attachment styles, though the first year of life is a major determinant of long-term attachment disposition.
What are the Signs of Secure Attachment in Children?
Infants with secure attachments develop an internal model of the world that is safe or an internal model of people that is kind and reliable. Children with a secure attachment learn to self-regulate their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors after being regulated by their caregiver during times of stress. Furthermore, securely attached children exhibit balanced behavior strategies that express their need for both intimacy and autonomy. Autonomy is particularly important because it enables more interaction with the environment.
Early signs can depict if a child is developing into a securely attached adult. These signs include:
1. Positive reaction to parents’ return
2. Interacts with others with ease
3. Explores and plays in new areas with ease
4. Prefers his parents to strangers
5. Seeks solace from parents
Securely connected youngsters utilize the caregiver as a safe base from which to explore their social environment and as a safe shelter to resort to in times of need. A kid must be reared in an atmosphere where they feel safe and recognized by their caregivers to form a strong attachment. Individuals may be unable to build a solid and secure bond if a caretaker isn’t attentive to a child’s requirements.
What is the influence of Secure Attachment on Childhood Friendships?
Attachment theory states that a child with a stable attachment type should be more confident in social interactions. A substantial body of evidence supports this point of view. The Minnesota research, for example, tracked people from infancy through late adolescence and discovered a link between early attachment and later emotional/social conduct. Later in life, securely linked children were shown to have better social skills, be less lonely, and be more popular than insecurely attached children. According to Hartup, youngsters with a steady attachment style are more well-liked in the nursery and have better social connections with other kids. Insecurely connected children, on the other hand, rely more on teachers for interaction and emotional support.
What are the Signs of Secure Attachment in Adults?
Adult relationships are likely to resemble early attachment style because a person’s experience with their caregiver as a youngster leads to the anticipation of similar experiences in subsequent relationships. Individuals who are securely connected have a solid functional image of themselves and others and hence feel comfortable with both intimacy and autonomy. These people typically have an open mind to other people’s perspectives and are at ease asking for aid as well as having others rely on them. Notably, even though many secure people have had poor attachment experiences, they can evaluate people and situations objectively and place a high value on relationships in general.
The following are some characteristics of adults who have a secure attachment style:
• Selfless and giving
• Able to seek help when needed
• Confident and assertive
• Assume people have good intentions
• Enjoy connection with others as well as time alone
What is it like to be in a Relationship with Someone who is Securely Attached?
A secure partner knows their spouse will be there for them. They may be able to strike a balance between giving and receiving in a relationship. They do not feel fear, worry, or uncertainty since they are securely bonded and can thus focus on being present for their partner. They are interdependent and optimistic about their connection. Many more characteristics of a happy individual in a relationship include:
1. Maintaining an open channel of communication
2. At ease with being vulnerable by revealing their feelings, experiences, worries, and so on.
3. Compassionate and understanding
4. Self-assured in expressing their feelings
5. Feel emotionally close to their relationships readily
6. Belief in their partner
7. Desire for their partner to have hobbies outside of the relationship
8. Be considerate of your partner’s needs and boundaries.
Obstacles to Secure Attachment
Everyone would have a deep bond with their caregiver if having a child was easy, but several hardships come with the territory. Understanding such issues can help you build a safe bond with your child. Raising a securely attached kid is possible because many, if not the majority, parents can prioritize and fully satisfy their child’s needs. Consider your attachment type as you assess the relationship you’re developing with your child and plan for any challenges that may arise. Consider what your caregiver did well and learn from it if you grew up with a close relationship with them. If you’ve discovered that you were raised with an insecure connection, remember that you can teach your child to be secure as well. Prioritize your child’s needs and replicate the assistance you wanted you received as a youngster.
One of the most important things a parent can do is to be self-aware. It is vital to be emotionally aware and to have a solid support system. An infant can sense its caregiver’s emotions, which determines the type of bond that forms. Parenting may be difficult, but staying calm and supportive of your child can help prevent your emotions from interfering with the establishment of a strong bond. We also live in a society full of continual distractions, such as the news, full calendars, and phone notifications. It might be difficult to limit these distractions, but try your best to prioritize your child’s needs. Because daily life is when a stable bond is created, restrict these distractions.
Are you struggling with your connections? Do you find it difficult to trust people? Do you doubt your partner or their love? Your attachment style cannot be altered but your thoughts and perspectives can be. Download the app to talk to our therapists and counselors to feel more secure.
Is it too Late to Form a Secure Attachment?
Early attachment patterns appear to be connected to the quality of later adult love relationships. This technique is founded on an internal working model in which a baby serves as a model (template) for future connections. During development, new attachment relationships form, which may be a lifeline during times of stress, goal accomplishment, and exploration. Romantic partners act as attachment figures for the other person in the relationship, providing stability and comfort. Because a person’s experience with their caregiver as a child leads to the anticipation of similar sensations in subsequent encounters, such as with parents, friends, and love partners, romantic relationships are likely to mirror early attachment patterns. Others, on the other hand, have asserted that, rather than a single internal working model shared by all connections, each sort of interaction has its own. This demonstrates that a person feels strongly connected to their parents while being uneasy about their romantic relationships.
Attachment styles cannot be altered. But there are ways through which you can improve your relationships. Therapy is one of the most common ways to do so. Seek now by visiting Ganeshaspeaks.com and by downloading the app.