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How childhood attachment affects adulthood

Every parent desires to maintain good relationship with his/her children. Unfortunately due to certain reasons it is not possible to always keep up the bond. When an infant cries, immediately the mother or care giver tries to calm down the baby by feeding, cuddling or any other way through which the child feels comfortable. So attachment starts from here. It is the deep emotional bond between the baby and the caregiver. Responding quickly to child’s cry shows that it is safe and loved. This connection starts with newborns after birth and continues throughout a child’s development.

How does the attachment develops with your child?

It is not difficult. You can just respond to your child’s needs in a warm, sensitive and consistent way. For instance, when your child falls sick, you care for your child until the child feels better. As a result it develops a sense of trust with the caregiver. Attachment also develops in how a parent interacts and is emotionally available to a child’s needs.

How do you know that your child is securely attached to you?

It is uncomplicated. Your child has a positive view of self and also with the relationship they form with others. They are generally happy and trusting. They enjoy the company of parents and when they grow as an adult they maintain safe intimate relationship with others. They seek help and feedback and also provide the same for others.

This is how child shows it’s insecure attachment

Few children tend to avoid parents/caregivers. They may not reject attention but physically or emotionally are detached from them. They seek no or less help from parents as they want to do things independently at an early age. These children do not feel comfortable hugging/cuddling. As a result when they grow as an adult they find it difficult to trust others and avoid forming relationship. This is known as avoidant attachment.

In some cases children show high level of anxiety and insecurity. They become clingy when there is lack of attention from parents, and they may reject the attention when it is offered. In adulthood, they may become adhesive and seek constant need for love and attention, become anxious and worry whether their partner loves them or not. This is known as ambivalent attachment.

In rare cases children show excessive aggressiveness and erotic behaviours. They have a lot of mood fluctuations. They struggle to manage their emotions. If the child is physically or sexually abused
they tend to be physically aggressive.

In adulthood they show inconsistency in their behaviors and have hard time trusting others. They want to have rejection or to get hurt. They have negative view of self and others.

On a concluding note, the attachment style displayed in infancy may not be the same in adulthood but it has serious impact on relationships later. Those who are securely attached in childhood tend to have high self-esteem, strong romantic relationships and ability to self disclose with others. On the other hand insecure attachment leads to destructive relationship with oneself and others.

Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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