Attachment refers to a special emotional and social connection between children and their caregivers that emerges during the first year of life. Securely attached children feel a consistent, responsive, and supportive relation to their caregivers even during times of significant stress. Insecurely attached children feel inconsistent, punishing, unresponsive emotions from their caregivers and feel threatened during times of stress.
Two Primary Parenting Behaviors Important in Developing Attachment
1. The adult readily recognizes and responds to the child’s physical and emotional needs.
2. The adult regularly engages the child in lively social interactions.
Tips to build attachment for maltreated children:
· Nurture the child(ren)
· Try to understand the behaviors before punishment or consequences
· Parent the child(ren) based on emotional age
· Be consistent, predictable and repetitive
· Model and teach appropriate social behaviors
· Listen and talk with the child(ren)
· Have realistic expectations of the child(ren)
· Be patient with the child(ren)’s progress and yourself
· Take care of yourself
· Take advantage of other resources
Young children need direct, physical contact to sustain healthy attachment relationships that may be qualitatively different with different caregivers.