Attachment is the human capacity to love and be loved, to trust and be trusted, to identify emotions of others, and feel compassion for others.
The human brain is undeveloped at birth, growing and developing over the course of childhood. Attachment Development results in brain cells and brain structures that support Attachment processes.
Children who experience a disruption of Attachment Development can be left unable to function in society. They may not be able to connect emotionally with other humans, and may exhibit a variety of challenging behaviors that range from rage and anxiety to violence and sadistic tendencies.
Parents and early education professionals must understand what contributes to formation of healthy Attachment. Caregiver sensitivity, nurturing, and emotional responsiveness are the foundation of proper developmental care of infants and children. Attachment Development is a highly complex process that slowly unfolds over early childhood.
A number of tragic circumstances can get in the way of Attachment Development. Children who are victims of trauma, abuse, or neglect may experience an interruption or delay of Attachment Development. Foster care and adoption are situation that often involve placing children who were previously in neglectful or abusive situations. As a result, these children may be more likely to experience a disorder of Attachment.
Unfortunately, other more common life challenges can also interfere with proper Attachment formation. Separation of infant from parents or caregivers for most any reason can result in disorder of Attachment. Some common reasons that a parent may be separated from an infant or young child include but are not limited to:
- Illness or Injury
- Divorce or Separation
Some children have medical challenges that keep them in the neonatal intensive care unit at birth. At other times, the mother may have a medical challenge surrounding childbirth that prevents proper bonding with a newborn. Serious illness or injury may prevent a parent from being physically or emotionally available to care for a child.
Employment can cause serious frustration of Attachment Development when a parent must work long hours to travel for work. Some honorable and hard working parents have two or three jobs just to keep a roof over their children’s heads. Sadly, long hours spent away from infants and children can have a negative impact on emotional development. What is more, parents who work long hours may come home exhausted or frustrated, and lack the emotional responsiveness and sensitivity that infants and children need in order to flourish.
Contact a counselor or child development specialist to evaluate your child’s Attachment Development if you suspect that any of these challenges exist in your family. Early intervention can help children catch up on interrupted or disrupted Attachment Development. Failure to provide children with the proper foundation of sensitive parenting and responsive parenting can be a Disorder of Attachment including Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED).
Parents in the greater Metropolitan Atlanta area of Georgia can contact The Orchard Human Services, Inc. directly to arrange for parent training and counseling for children and family. Those living outside the Atlanta area can engage in online Webinars and Parent Training sessions to help promote effective Attachment Supportive parenting skills and capacities.