Secure Attachment Style
The Securely Attached Child
Shows some distress when their caregiver leaves but are able to compose themselves knowing that their caregiver will return
When frightened they seek comfort from a caregiver. They can be comforted by others as well but prefer their caregiver
More independent, lower instances of anxiety and depression, and form better social relationships
More mature, less aggressive, and less disruptive
More empathetic during later childhood
Free to express positive and negative feelings openly without defenses against unpleasant ones
Better emotional regulation, higher self-esteem, better coping under stress, more positive engagement in the preschool peer group
Closer friendships in middle childhood
Better coordination of friendships and social groups in adolescence
More leadership qualities
Happier and better relationships with parents and siblings
Greater trust in life
Parents of Children with a Secure Attachment Style:
React more quickly to their children’s needs and more responsive to their children
Tend to be warm, loving, and emotionally available
Play more with their children
One study showed that the mother’s responsiveness during the first year of life can a big role in determining secure attachment
Even in secure attachment, parents are only attuned to their babies 30% of the time - it is only necessary that the baby form a generalized trust that the caregiver will respond and that when the caretaker is not able to meet a need (mismatch) he/she engages in appropriate repair
There must be a combination of attunement, mismatches, and repairs in order for there to be an optimal amount of connection and stress for the baby to build confidence and coping skills in balance
Secure Attachment in Adulthood
Constitutes nearly 50% of the population
Engage in close, bodily contact, disclose information with one another, share discoveries with each other and feel safe when the other is nearby
Tend to engage in trusting, long-term relationships, have high self-esteem, enjoy intimate relationships, seek social support, and have the ability to share their feelings with others.
Tolerate conflict well and practice discernment when forming new bonds, know how to set and sustain appropriate boundaries
Research has shown that early attachment styles can help predict patterns of behavior in adulthood
However, there are exceptions to this - in one study, Hazan and Shaver found that the best predictor of adult attachment style was the perceptions that people have about the quality of their relationships with their parents as well as their parent's relationship with each other. They also found that parental divorce seemed unrelated to attachment style.
How to Develop a More Secure Attachment Style
Practice attunement with your own needs as well as your child’s needs - check in with yourself - how are you feeling in this moment? Are there any unmet needs?
Practice emotional regulation - children are very sensitive to your tone, demeanor, facial expressions. When you practice emotional regulation you are teaching your child the same.
Align yourself with other securely attached people and partners
Groups - Circling - a group of 4-10 people that teaches you how to relate and connect with others and discover your ways of being in relationship. If focuses on how we listen and how we communicate,more focused on present moment (https://circlinginstitute.com/)
Psychotherapy - explore thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of both past and present to identify your personal patterns and allows for healing within the therapeutic relationship
Criticisms of Attachment Theory:
Attachment styles formed during early childhood are not necessarily identical to those demonstrated in adult romantic attachments (i.e. can have one type of attachment style as a child and another as an adult)
One theory argues that peers have more of an influence on a child’s personality than do their caregivers
Evidence that identical twins who did not grow up together have similar interests and hobbies - personality has a heavy nature component, not just what they learned from their caregiver
Attachment can be expressed differently depending on the caregiver (i.e. child acts differently with mom than with dad)
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Blue Sage Counseling and Wellness, and the information provided by Ashley Francis, is solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Ashley Francis is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.