Secure attachment refers to an emotional bond/ attachment between children and their primary caregivers. Researched by Mary Ainsworth, the psychologist noticed the various behavioral reactions when children are left alone without a caregiver and when the caregiver (mostly mothers) returned. Reports indicate that a child with secure attachments show minimal distress when the mother leaves and seeks comfort when she returns. In parallel, Ainsworth also noted that the children appear to trust that the caregivers would cater their needs and the caregivers also respond consistently and appropriately to the childs need (Ainsworth, 2015). This essay, therefore, seeks to explore the contributors of secure attachments, the associated hindrances and the impact on later relationships with others and God.
Contributors of secure mother-infant attachment
Creating a safe attachment between mother and child relies on nonverbal communication skills such as cuddling and holding. For the development of the brain and consequent attachment, a nonverbal emotional exchange between caregiver and infant is pertinent. Communication makes children feel secure and understood. Children who are emotionally disconnected display feelings of confusion and insecurity which may lead to insecure attachments. Also, the quality of attachment provided to the child has everything to do with the type of attachment given to him/her. Secure attachment is hierarchical. This is to mean that traditionally, caregivers are more likely to give the same care presented to them during infancy to the current children under their care.
Obstacles in developing a secure attachment with infants
When creating a secure attachment for an infant, love may never cease, but problems arise when the caregiver is ill-equipped to meet infancy needs such as healthcare or food (Lionetti, 2016). The infants immature nervous system predisposes them to rely on maternal needs from the mother. Children look up to mothers for security and comfort but when postnatal experiences such stress, psychosis depression inflicts caregivers, a large percentage of their time is spent nursing their emotional needs. Consequently, a child deprived of quality attachment at infancy risks having an insecure attachment with the primary caregiver.
Impact on social life and with God
Relational patterns established during infancy has a direct impact on future relationships in life, psychologists say. Attachment theories posit that children who develop secure attachments with their caregivers have a propensity to develop positive relationships with partners and peers. The early attachment between a mother and an infant helps a child develop and maintain romantic relationships or friendships (Feinberg, 2015). Additionally, children with secure attachments during infancy are more likely to face problems and hurdles with resiliency at the preschool level. The security and comfort, given to an infant, according to psychologists, grants a child the self-esteem that will be useful for developing friendships. Children with poor attachments on the other hand show poor relationships with peers, self-worth and esteem issues and inability to face problems. Christians adore the picture of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus surrounded in divine love. The ability to see God as an attachment figure, handed down by motherly patterns supports the development of a childs faith in God. When a child experiences Gods love through the caregiver, parent or grandparent, safe relationships are developed with the future spouse, psychotherapist, mentor, and pastor.
While attachment between mother and infant can be developed right from birth, the difference between a secure attachment and insecure attachment stems from the quality of care given to infants. Hindrances on the mother such as stress, maternal mental illness and depression influence the type of attachment given to infants. Hope remains standing as mitigating these attachment hinderers is possible through therapeutic sessions. Mothers should aim to secure infants in early developmental stages as the type of attachment given to a child has a direct impact on future relationships with peers and spouses.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. N. (2015). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Psychology Press.
Feinberg, A. E. (2015). Relationships that appear to contribute to the development of an earned-secure attachment.Lionetti, F. (2014). What promotes secure attachment in early adoption? The protective roles of infants temperament and adoptive parents attachment. Attachment & human development, 16(6), 573-589.
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