20 Jul Childhood and Attachment Styles
In our previous blog post, we discussed the different types of attachment styles in relationships. In this article – Childhood and Attachment Styles, we will delve deeper into the kind of childhoods people with the different attachment styles most likely experienced, which explains how they perceive their current relationships.
Childhood and Attachment Styles
To understand why childhood plays such a massive role in attachment styles, it’s important to understand what exactly attachment is. According to Psychology Today, Attachment is “the emotional bond that forms between infant and caregiver, and it is the means by which the helpless infant gets its primary needs met.”
We have previously discussed the different types of attachment styles in relationships in an earlier post. We recommend you read it before continuing on with this article.
How Does Attachment Form?
The attachment styles we form into our adult years depend on how well our parents could meet our needs in childhood. If caregivers are sensitive and attuned to the needs of their children, a secure attachment is formed. The child then learns that they can rely on and trust other people.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the child perceives that their needs are not met. The caregivers may not be emotionally available or responsive when the child seeks their attention or support, and therefore, the child cannot form a secure bond.
“The problem with insecure attachment during childhood is that it often cannot be left behind. It does not simply go away over time, with growing up.”
Early childhood attachment experiences do shape our attachment styles in adult relationships.
- Children with a secure attachment may be distressed upon separation but warmly welcome the caregiver back through eye contact and hug-seeking.
- Anxious attachment describes a child who is frightened by separation and continues to display anxious behavior once the caregiver returns.
- Avoidant attachment denotes a child who reacts fairly calmly to a parent’s separation and does not embrace their return.
- Disorganized attachment manifests in odd or ambivalent behavior toward a caregiver upon return—approaching then turning away from or even hitting the caregiver—and may be the result of childhood trauma.