What is the attachment bond?
The mother–child bond is the primary force in infant development, according to the attachment bond theory pioneered by English psychiatrist John Bowlby and American psychologist Mary Ainsworth. The theory has gained strength through worldwide scientific studies and the use of brain imaging technology.
The attachment bond theory states that the relationship between infants and primary caretakers is responsible for:
- Shaping all of our future relationship
- Strengthening or damaging our abilities to focus, be conscious of our feelings, and calm ourselves
- The ability to bounce back from misfortune.
For children living in foster care or adoptive homes these early experiences are likely to be difficult, as children experience separation and loss of biological parents, often following an experience of inadequate and sometimes frightening parenting.
Often these children grow up with attachment difficulties, making it harder for them to settle into their new homes. The Attachment Theory can provide us with a framework for understanding the resulting behaviour of the children. It can also provide guidance about ways of parenting the children that fosters increased trust and feelings of security. Within environments of responsive, available care, the children can begin to recover from early experience and learn to organise their behaviour around their belief in the continued availability and trustworthiness of their foster or adoptive parent.
You can find more info on this interesting set of slides, ‘The dance of Attachment’:
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