The Importance of Attachment Theory

Child feeling left out

Many times we see children who struggled to attach to the parents or caregivers in their lives at an early age. For these children they have missed some important aspects of key development and relationships.

There are four basic characteristics that basically give us a clear view of what attachment really is. They include a safe heaven, a secure base, proximity maintenance and separation distress. These four attributes are very evident in the relationship between a child and their caregiver.

Often, we do not clearly understand some of the symptoms of attachment struggles in children.  Sometimes behavioral problems may surface that we may perceive as rebellious when in fact, children are actually processing their own need for regulation due to lack of proper attachment.

Even in adults we see some of the following symptoms:

  • Being disconnected or disengaged from the feelings of other people (detachment)
  • Withdrawal from connections
  • Inability to maintain serious romantic or platonic relationships
  • Inability to show affection
  • Resistance to receiving love
  • Control issues
  • Anger problems
  • Impulsivity
  • Distrustful
  • Inability to fully grasp emotions
  • Feelings of emptiness or numbness
  • Lack of sense of belonging

It is of essential importance that caregivers, parents, childcare workers all understand how important it is to provide a safe haven for the children in their care. Attachment parenting has been shown to enhance the relationship and attachment of children to their parents so parents should learn how to become sensitive to these issues.

Also, we need to support those who care for our children. Lakeside is launching a new early childhood trauma-informed movement for early childhood educators so that they can be sensitized to trauma, attachment deficits and early childhood adversity. It really sets the groundwork for a secure childhood and adult life that is healthy and connected.

We learned from COVID that isolation is not a healthy lifestyle for any of us. Those who have struggled with attachment issues can feel very isolated even in a busy world. It is important to consider the issue of attachment when we are concerned about our children and adults who manifest some of the symptoms mentioned so they can get clarity on what they are feeling and find the support they need.

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