Insecure Avoidant Attachment

There are many ways to qualify the bond between a parent and a child. One of them is the insecure avoidant attachment type. As the name implies, this attachment is characterized by the child's avoidance of situations or contexts that may bring him closer, physically or emotionally, to his parent. This can be manifested in various ways.
    ● Limited interactions between the parent and the child;
    ● Rare and limited display of affection between the parent and the child;
    ● Greater interest from both the parent and the child towards less familiar individuals;
    ● Child’s infrequent expression of pain or distress;
    ● Child’s emotional neutrality;
    ● Indifference associated to the child and parent’s separations or reunions regardless of the duration;
    ● Parental display of anger, exasperation or mockery towards the distress or needs of the child;
    ● Strong independence on behalf of the child even when help would otherwise be required;
    ● Underexpression of needs and refusal of offered assistance by the child.

In short, an avoidant child tends to avoid going to his parent or seeking comfort in situations where he would otherwise be expected to do so. For example, an avoidant child would remain calm and neutral after falling off his bicycle and would discreetly go take care of the wound himself. On the other hand, a child with a more secure attachment would cry and go see his parent who would then take care of him and comfort him. One of the underlying explanations to such an attachment type is the adult’s response to the child’s needs and emotions. Should the adult’s responses not correspond to proper attention and care, the child will begin to inhibit such needs and emotions as he now knows they will not be well received. It becomes less difficult for the child to fend for himself, to reduce the expression of his emotions and limit his interactions with the adult than to be confronted with a lack of attention and sensitivity.

Since the child’s relationships can have an impact on his development on many levels such as personal self-esteem, vision of the world, learning, and ways to connect with others, the scope of the services offered is not negligible. These may include the following elements:

    ● Develop the parent's sensitivity so he can respond appropriately to the needs of the child and become a secure attachment point;
    ● Promote the child’s expression of emotions;
    ● Demonstrate willingness to help the child be less independent in case of need and be receptive to help provided by the parent;
    ● Be receptive and sensitive to the child’s needs;
    ● Adopt an appropriate attitude depending on the child’s situation;
    ● Be positively interested in what the child does

Overall, to develop a safe attachment bond between the parent and the child, it is important to respond adequately, quickly, and warmly to the child’s needs. Thus, the more the child feels that the parent is present, attentive and caring, the more he will develop a secure attachment with the parent.

*The use of the pronoun “he” is meant to alleviate the reading of this document.

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