Attachment and the development in early childhood

Attachment and the development in early childhood

February 11, 2018

Attachment parenting

Attachment simply means that there are strong emotional bonds between two people who trust each other. Psychologists believe that children must have a safe connection with at least one person in childhood.

Children who receive a loving and stable connection in childhood, stand a better chance of developing into secure adults, with self-esteem and the ability to create their own stable relationships. Of course, that's something we all want for our children.
When talking about attachment, it's the child's connection to the parents, not the opposite.

To relate to is to survive

When a child is born, it can not cope with himself. It depends entirely on someone caring and taking care of it. In order for a baby to feel safe, it needs closeness, love and someone who provide for its basic need for sleep, food, and warmth. As soon as the little child is born, it does everything to activate the parents' care system, it is a survival instinct. Pure physiologically, the association develops using specific brain cells, mirror neurons that can make us react and feel empathy for another human being when we look at it. For example, we'll be sad if someone cries, we feel empathy and want to help the one in need. It is not a conscience that we think babies are cute, like kittens and other animal children. You can hardly resist taking care of a baby who needs you..
If the baby experiences that it is in danger or if it is feeling abandoned, she will immediately seeks proximity and confirmation of protection. She does so by crying or screaming to get your attention.

Can you spoil a child with too much attention?

For many years, children’s education experts In the western world, have talked about the value of the child's development of "independence". They have recommended children to sleep in their own bed, they claim that crying and screaming should not be "rewarded" with comfort and children should quickly learn to play in groups in the kindergarten.
The more modern connection theory however, assumes that the child's independence is based on the foundation of a safe connection. Today, most child psychologists believe that it is better to be responsive to the needs of each child than to force independence.
Today, it is said that small children can not be "spoiled" when it comes to closeness and love.

Who can the child attach to?

Neither gender nor biological relationship matters, in order for the child to connect with a person. The child can relate to more - parents, grandparents, siblings and kindergarten teachers - but not too many. The deeper relationship that is called a "specific" attachment is difficult to achieve if the people around the child are constantly being replaced.

The child learns to believe in you

All the senses we know are active from birth, although vision and hearing are further developed during the first weeks of the child's life. Speak a lot to your child. Let yourself be fascinated by how the senses and brain develops.
In the first crucial period of life, the child learns to feel a basic trust. It learns how its own behavior affects the environment. To answer a child's cry with comfort gives the child an experience that one can trust the world. In this way, you confirm the child and help it to gain a feeling of safety, trust and confidence.
If a parent or another adult does not respond to the child's signals, or if they constantly reacts unpredictably, the connection may be damaged. If the baby feels abandoned, it is affected by anxiety, which turns into crying and despair and eventually apathy. Even worse, of course, if the person in charge of security also exposes the child to an outbreak or maltreatment. If no one else is found, the child will nevertheless be forced to seek proximity and protection from the one who also poses a threat. Such a relationship can cause the child big trouble to feel trust and confidence later in life.

Separations can give confidence a break

Separation anxiety is quite natural, it usually starts from 6-8 months, but is even stronger when the child is about 1 year old. The child may start to sleep badly or want to constantly be with the parents. It is of utmost importance to your baby, that you are there for your baby. You must be the You must more than ever be the safehaven that you child can turn to, and so the child can be confident, take the step and start exploring the world.
The connection is based on trust. When you disappear from the room, the child may feel left behind. It can help if you say you will return immediately and do it before the child begins to become despaired. Once the child has understood the procedure and realizes that you are always coming back, trust grows. But it can also get a crack if you are away for too long or do not keep your "deal".
Being exposed to repeated, distressed separations or a constant urge for separation has been shown to make children more unsafe than definitive separations such as adoption or in the situation where a parent dies.

When starting to attend kindergarten, the child should have enough time to gain confidence and feel safe by one in the staff, before before parents leaves for a longer period of time. How long it takes can vary for different children.

Children's differences

That children respond very personally early in life is something that most grandparents can confirm.
Small children are already different from the start, just as people are later in life. They can differ from each other as to what makes them troubled, sad, angry, and how to comfort them. Advice from good friends tips on how to snuggle your baby in for bed in the best way, is well meant, but it may not work for your baby. Some children need more affirmation and closeness than others - and it can of course feel very tiring at times. But do not forget that you are probably the one who has the best prerequisites for offering the child what it most needs.
Well-known routines that are being repeated over and over again, can meaningful for most children.

If you are having trouble meeting the child's need for association

New parents, whether they are a mom or a dad, may have difficulty managing the needs of the child and all the expectations that needs to be met. Sometimes it may be associated with a birth depression. It is not unusual - and nothing to be ashamed of, even though we don´t speak so openly about it. Talk to your healthcare professional or maternity care staff.
Both parents are of course welcome to parent groups at the healthcare providers. Use the opportunity to be together about it and meet other parents, with children of the same age.
Sharing experiences with other parents in parent groups or online can also be great. Here you can both get the other parents' advice and views, and share your own. Sometimes it may be a comfort if life with a new baby and all it´s needs feels difficult and overwhelming to cope with.Atta


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