The Attachment Theory: Its Four Types

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The attachment theory was first theorized by John Bowlby who described attachment as “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings”. Attachment has been defined in many different ways but the common ground between all definitions is: It’s a necessary component to normal human development. The many Islamic rituals from the first moments a child is born proves the successful attachment between the child and caregiver is a crucial factor in his development. Furthermore, the structure of the Islamic family creates a dynamic which enhances the bond between the child and parents. There are four attachment styles that are discussed in this theory one that is secure and three that are not.

Secure Attachment

The first relationship a child has will create a model for all future relationships. There are two main goals a child should achieve in order to have secure attachment: 1) A basic sense of trust in the world 2) Allowance for emotional regulation. Trust in the world means whenever the child needs you, you are there! Thus, it is unadvisable to be away from your newborn child for long periods of time before a successful attachment has been made. Secondly, the child should be able to express their feelings (often through crying at this stage) which in turn helps them explore their emotions and regulate it.

Insecure Attachment

Insecure attachment is the result of not having at least one emotionally invested, predictably available caregiver. The three attachment types that are considered insecure include: Ambivalent, Avoidant and Disorganized attachment. A child with ambivalent (AKA resistant) attachment is the result of inconsistent parenting creating a child that is never sure if their expressions of anxiety will be attended to. A child with avoidant attachment is a result of parents who discouraged overt signs of affection of distress and do not readily offer sympathy. Lastly, disorganized attachment is when the parents are the source of fear; often due to psychological issues or are abusive.  Each of these types lack in the child’s sense of trust and/or allowance for emotional regulation.

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