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Child attachment: definition, functions and types

Child attachment: definition, functions and types

June 20, 2024

The stage of childhood is wonderful. However, it involves many changes, since children have to internalize in a relatively short time everything that will prepare them for adult life.

This process of psychological evolution is not limited simply to technical aspects, such as learning to multiply or to build correct sentences. A necessary factor for the proper development of the child is the attachment .

What is attachment?

Regarding the first years of life, it is understood as attachment the most important emotional and behavioral link in early childhood , in addition to the affective bond, that is, the feeling that unites the child with one or several persons of the family system.

The attachment is established during the first three months . It gives rise to an internal model of affective relationships, that is, an unconscious representation that, being quite stable in the first year, can be modified by later experiences. Children will trust or not certain things, people, etc.

It also serves as the basis for affective relationships, guiding the behavior of others and the way to address them.

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A basic need

The attachment it is also a universal and primary need . A pediatrician affirms that to spoil a child means to raise it badly, that is, with little respect, few pampering, little affection, few hugs; it is impossible to raise him badly by paying much attention to him, by playing a lot with him, by comforting him a lot when he cries or by taking him a lot in his arms.

The child needs a caregiver to become someone, to recognize himself as he is. This allows the baby's brain to develop as it should, thanks to the social dynamics with which it begins to work.

Adverse situations of attachment give rise to defensive mechanisms, a failure in the mentalizing and reflective function of the brain. The good treatment shapes its evolution and the correct functionality of the brain. A baby without attachment becomes emotionally disconnected .

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Functions of child attachment

The functions performed by the attachment during the first years of life are as follows.

1. Find and maintain proximity

It is very important that the mother or anyone in the family be near the child to know what he feels .

2. Resist separation and protest if it occurs

The child, especially if he is very young, needs his parents to have an adequate development. In the event that they separate, the child is more likely to develop behavior or anxiety problems .

3. Use the figure of attachment as a basis of security

From this security it is possible to start exploring the physical and social world . This function helps your neurons connect properly and allows you to enter education and, above all, the child to organize things and have a clear idea of ​​things, people, etc.

4. Emotional support

In childhood, attachment allows you to feel safe looking in the figure of attachment well-being and emotional support .

Types of attachment

In the education and upbringing of children, the following types of attachment influence.

1. Secure attachment

The figure of attachment is the father or mother who is able to respond appropriately to the child's emotional cues . In this type of attachment, the child understands the feelings well and can regulate them; they look for proximity and contact; have positive expectations; show attitudes of cooperation and empathy; they are easily comforted by the figures of attachment; they are socially competent people and show normal anxiety in separations.

2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment

It's composed by parents who They are affectionate but they do not know how to understand the baby ; they play less, there is less contact; they are hard and selfish and less sensitive; responds only to the negative conditions of the child (if a child complains); there is less contact. The child shows intense anxiety; they are hardly consoled by the figure of attachment; shows anticipated anger; does not access rules easily; They ignore their emotional states and there is antisocial behavior in adolescence.

3. Anxious-avoidant attachment

Here there are irresponsible, rejecting, intolerable parents with children, who think that everything the child does is wrong, there are continuous behaviors of anger and rejection . The child has little or no anxiety about separation; he does not want to see his mother with strange people; avoid rejections and punishments; the child notices that he is not wanted, that he is upset; They are less cooperative and more aggressive.

4. Anxious-disorganized attachment

It is present when there are parents who physically and psychologically abuse the child , they manipulate their son. The child is disoriented, approaches the figure of attachment but with avoidance of gaze; they are not motivated to reach certain goals or behaviors (they are full of fear and anguish); they fear their attachment figure and look for other people as doctors or nurses; They are more likely to have behavior and aggressiveness problems.

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Attachment Theory (June 2024).

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