According to John Bowlby, attachment is the interpersonal bond between child and parent that serves to protect individuals from harm and to obtain security. When there are signs of danger, children naturally seek to get close to their caregivers, this is attachment behavior. This attachment is based upon the accumulation of all the successes and failures in interactions with a caregiver.
In healthy attachment, the child has needs which are expressed in behaviors such as reaching or crying and the caregiver responds to that need by comforting or assisting the child. If the caregiver routinely and predictably meets the child’s needs, then the child learns that relationships are safe and trustworthy.
On the other hand, when children’s needs are responded to with indifference, anger, or chaos, children learn that relationships are unpredictable and unsafe. There are several different types of attachment styles that develop in childhood which I will review in future posts. These styles of attachment are secure attachment, anxious-avoidant, anxious-ambivalent, and disorganized