Attachment ...

A word we use so much, so often. A word we often overlook and at times take for granted that the vast majority of people do not know what attachment means. My favorite definition of attachment comes from Dr. Karyn Purvis in her latest book The Connected Parent which says attachment is “an affectionate bond between a caregiver and a youngster, an infant, child, or adolescent. It's the bond that tells that child they’re safe, their needs matter, and they are precious. Within the attachment bond the caregiver acts as the external regulator for all of the child's needs.”

This attachment to our caregivers in our first years of life sets the stage for our relationships throughout our lives. It is the foundation at which we learn about relationships and how we often times form messages about our worth as people.

There are four different attachment styles — Secure, Anxious/Ambivalent, Anxious/Avoidant, and Disorganized — and we are each “given” one by our caregivers in our first months/year of life. A way of connecting with others is essentially imprinted on us based generally on how our parent/primary caregiver connected with us. Learning and being curious about one’s attachment style is often something we discuss when coming alongside adults looking to build their family through adoption. Attachment needs are something all children who are adopted have and thus knowing our own attachment style as caregivers helps us better understand how we can adjust to meet the attachment needs of our children.

Here is a quick video to help better understand the attachment cycle and how our attachment style is built: 

Written by Lindsay Bragdon, LSW TBRI ® Practitioner, Adoption Program Director and The Connected Community at MCH Coordinator.