Attachment And Bonding
the terms “attachment” and “bonding” are used interchangeably, as
though they had similar implications. However, they have quite
distinctive meanings. Bonding actually refers to the parent’s tie to
the infant and is thought to occur in the first hours or days of
life. Attachment, in contrast, refers to the relationship between infants and primary caregivers, which develops gradually.
is defined as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human
beings” (Bowlby, 1969, p.194), which remains one of the most important
building blocks for human development. It begins with connectedness
in-utero (Verney & Kelly, 1981) between mother and child, helping
the “child to develop a sense of self…and an identity” (Fahlberg,
(1989) pointed out the defining characteristic of an attachment bond is
that it is marked by one person seeking a sense of security from the
other. If the seeker is successful, and a sense of security is attained, the attachment bond will be a secure one. If the seeker does not achieve a sense of security in the relationship, then the bond is insecure.
(1997), Schore (1994), and Siegel (1999) have written about how the
early relationship between the primary caretaker and the infant
influences the child’s developing cognitive ability, shapes the
capacity to modulate affect and empathize with the feelings of others, and even determines the shape and functioning of the brain.
What is Attachment
Attachment and Bonding Chart
Challenges & Issues
experiences of a child during the first three years of
life are crucial to brain development. The positive, nurturing interactions
s/he receives from a loving, responsive caretaker stimulates neural
connections between the brain cells. This in turn forms the
“wiring system” of the brain which affects emotions, behaviors and learning. When
an infant experiences trauma, chronic levels of “stress” hormones are
released which results in a child being stuck in the fight, flight or
freeze mode. Neglect and trauma decreases
stimulation of the brain and causes smaller corpus callosum, which
results in poorly integrated cerebral hemispheres. These brain deficits cause:
Difficulty regulating emotions
Lack of cause-effect thinking
Inability to accurately recognize emotions in others.
Inability of the child to articulate the child’s own emotions.
An incoherent sense of self and autobiographical history.
Lack of conscience.
Early Brain Development
Child Trauma Academy
Impact of Abuse & Neglect on the Brain
Child Abuse & Neglect
As more becomes know about attachment problems, questions arises:
“How do I know if my child has attachment problems?”
“Are these normal behaviors for an adoptive/foster child?”
“Is this a sign of an attachment problem/disorder or something else?”
Below is a list of links to provide parents with guidance concerning signs of a possible attachment problem/disorder. If in doubt, parents should seek out a professional assessment.
Symptoms in Infants and Toddlers
Signs of a Secure Attachment
Subtle Signs of Attachment Problems
Identifying Insecure Attachment
Journey of Attachment