What is it?
‘Attachment’ is a word we use to explain how I bond with adults and look to them for help to understand the world. All children seek attachment from adults who make them feel safe. This will usually start with their parents, but children can form the same bonds with other adults – especially if their mum and dad are not there to provide this for whatever reason.
The main thing is that children need adults who love them and they trust as they learn about the world.
When my attachment needs are met
As I grow I need help from adults to understand my world – this is ‘connecting’. It can be very exciting or scary having new experiences all the time and I need adults to help me to learn how to calm down when I get stressed.
When you are calm, I am ‘connected’ and learn how to calm down too. And when I am calm I can start to make sense of the world and grow to be a success at home, at school and in life.
If my attachment needs are NOT met
From my earliest hours I am built to find other humans to connect with and help me. I can’t do things on my own and everything is confusing and scary.
If I do not have adults to soothe me then I will feel unsafe and become very stressed. This stops me being able to learn and grow in healthy ways that will help me as I get older.
I may become ‘disconnected’. This means the stress will become so overwhelming that I may not be able to control my behaviour easily, or I may shut down to deal with my feelings.
How can you help me?
As a baby, I look to you for reassurance as I explore because I need you to let me know when things are safe or unsafe. When I get older I will ask you lots of questions for the same reason. I will look to my adults through my whole childhood and beyond.
It can be confusing if you don’t respond clearly or in the way I expect. Remember, my brain works slower than yours so if you are distracted and don’t give me your full attention I may not understand why, and this is scary!