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The word “attachment” is used a lot in parenting magazines and often comes up in discussions among parents. Of course, all of us have some notion of what the parent-child attachment is all about, but in child psychology theory and research “attachment” has a very specific meaning. In fact, a whole line of research has developed focused solely on attachment theory. So I thought I’d offer a little background on what psychologist mean when they discuss attachment.
He also theorized that children who experience insensitive or unresponsive reactions from parents will be much more likely to have psychological problems later in life. This understanding of attachment became the basis of much of the psychological study of child development of the time and continues to inform psychology degree programs today.
Related reading: Attachment Theory: Part 2
Another interesting aspect of attachment theory is the idea that children develop an “internal working model” of how relationships work based on their attachment with their parent. In other words, if a child feels their parent can be trusted to meet their needs, they (unconsciously) feel that other adults (i.e., teachers, friends) are also trustworthy. Similarly, children also develop internal working models of themselves also. If their parent is responsive to them, they come to understand that they themselves are worthy of care.
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