There are four basic attachment styles-secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized.
- The secure attachment style is characteristic of a child who looks towards their caregiver in times of stress, uncertainty, fear, sadness etc. As an infant this child most likely cried and was picked up over and over and over. This child has learned that their parent is there for them in every situation.
- The avoidant attachment style is shown when a child does not seek their parents comfort in times of stress. This child may seem "calm as a cucumber" when in a stressful situation. Although, this may seem good on the outside, the child is holding all of their stress in on the inside. This may be referred to as psuedo-dependent.
- The ambivalent attachment style is characterized by a child that may go to their parent in times of stress, but will not be calmed by their parent's embrace. The care this child received was most likely inconsistent varying from sensitive to neglectful.
- The disorganized attachment style is confusing. The child displays characteristics from each category and then also displays characteristics that do not match any category. This child may ask for a hug and then throw a tantrum when an adult becomes closer with their arms outstretched. Sadly, the child's caregiver was most likely the child's source of fear. Therefore, the person the child is supposed to seek in times of stress is causing the stress. This is seen in abusive situations.
- Secure- "positive view of self, others, and relationships." (Siegal)
- Avoidant- may be viewed as a loner. Response to stress is isolation. At times, relationships may become unimportant.
- Ambivalent- anxious, self-critical, insecure, clingy, overly-dependent
- Disorganized-fearful, desire relationships until things become serious, no clear connection to others. Past drives the future.
This gives me as an adoptive parent hope. I was not there when my children were babies, even toddlers to ensure that the best care possible was provided. The damage was already done when they entered my front door. However, their past does not have to determine their future, because their brains can still create new connections. This is true for a person of any age. What a huge blessing God has given us to overcome our past and move forward into our future with a "positive view of self, others, and relationships."
If you would like to know more about TBRI or attachment, consider taking an Empowered to Connect Class. You can find an Empowered to Connect trainer in your area by going to http://empoweredtoconnect.org/training/ and clicking on Find an ETC Trainer Near You
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