Classical Studies


Attachment is an emotional bond between an infant and its primary caregivers and, later on in life, affection intimacy or continuation of relationships with family members or best friends. When an infant comes into the world it is absolutely helpless and dependent on its primary caregivers not only for physical well-being and survival, which is expressed by providing food, safety and roof over the head, but also for emotional well-being. When a child is in emotional distress, their caregivers instinctively try to help and comfort them either by holding children close, establishing eye contact, or talking in soothing nurturing tone of voice. It helps the infant to calm down and relax but it should happen repeatedly and consistently. Therefore, in such way the nervous system of a baby is learning in muscle memory for neurons to shift from a state of random chaotic firing into a state of relative calm and equanimity, which is the beginning of emotional regulation.


Secure attachment involves for the baby a sense of love and care from the early infancy, thus manifests in a good attachment exploration balance. When kids are securely attached they are confident that when they are distressed, hurt, or frightened they can reach out to the caregiver for support. The caregiver will be reasonably available and responsive emotionally, tuned in and connected in caring. It is a kind of foundation for social learning and it teaches children not only about other people, but also teaches them to understand themselves because peoples understanding about themselves is based on other peoples responses to them. Kids, who are securely attached, appear to be most independent and confident in themselves and people around them. Their ability to depend on the caregiver fosters a kind of independence because they are confident that in case they run into trouble they will be able to resolve it and receive the help they need.

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In the case of avoidant attachment children pick up a feeling their caregiver does not have an internal intention to know them and be close to them. Such children have a deep sense of emptiness, so when these children grow into adults they look at the world only from physical aspect. The subjective, internal emotional aspect does not play a great role in their life.

Insecure resistant attachment forms when children do not receive stable consistent response from their caregivers. Parents can be sometimes inaccessible and at other times caring and loving. Unpredictable and occasionally angry behavior is a logical consequence of inconsistent mixture of responses the baby had experienced during the interaction with his caregiver. Inability to rely on the caregiver and his inaccessibility adds to the insecurely attached babys distress and anger about little everyday separations or threats of separation comparing to those who securely attached.

In a disorganized attachment parents and other caregivers have provided terrifying atmosphere for a child. It can take the form of parents looking terrified, so babies can become frightened and confused only by the fear and confusion of their parents. The other example is babys actual emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and as a result development of a dissociative condition. It puts a child in an untenable situation where he can find no solution to the fear he experiences because from one side he needs to go toward an attached figure to be soothed, but from the other he needs to escape from the source of terror. When these kids become older their ability to regulate their emotions is severely compromised, so for example if they feel angry they cannot calm it down. They cannot separate their impulse and their action. There is also inability to understand other people, as a result such people become extremely disrupted by other peoples emotions. In the future children with insecure attachment may have a lot of troubles in intimate relationships, from which they expect to receive a sense of comfort and safety. They may misinterpret peoples reactions, therefore any action can be viewed as potentially violent. There are three ways in action development: the person can either feel hopeless and helpless, cannot do anything and freezes, or feels as he is clearly in danger and the only option is to run and flee, or the third alternative which typically leads to violence is fight, so the person immediately goes from receptivity to reactivity.

The way emotions are experienced and expressed is shaped or learned in many ways. Forming positive atmosphere in a family and establishing secure relations with a child will definitely have positive outcomes in the future. If a parent feels and emphasizes for his child, thus creates a secure environment, the child experiences what is being felt by another person. Thus, this feeling allows the children to see that their emotions and they themselves matter to someone else. Hence, it creates emotional bond, a holding environment, where almost unbearable emotions for a child become bearable. So, this mutual experience becomes natural and intuitive and when children are upset, distressed or worried they tend to rely on their primary caregiver, especially when something overwhelming happens that children cannot deal on their own. Such behavior becomes normal and children become gradually aware of what they are feeling. They can express it to another person, someone who is close to them, and expect that this person will care and help them with their feelings, connect with them and help to feel emotional closeness with other people. Insecure attachment, on the contrary, is linked to all kinds of negative outcomes throughout the lifespan. It is connected to pressure, withdrawal, anxiety, aggression and most of physical disease outcomes.

There are several ways that a parent can use to optimize their relationship with a child, reduce childs stress. First of all, a parent needs to be sensitive means they need to respond to infants bids for attention in an appropriate, warm and consistent manner. They need to scaffold to protect the child from stressors, destructive to a child to handle, and balance their own needs with those of their child.

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