The Relationship Between Parental Attachments and Mental Disorders COUN 502: Human Growth and Development
September 28, 2013
Emotional development is important for a child as it plays essential roles in the functioning and wiring of the brain within the first few years of life. The right emotional attachments formed by a parent or caregiver can influence how a child interacts with others as well as how the child copes with stress and adversity. The need for secure attachment in a child’s life serves as a type of mental molding which helps with positive growth and expectations in the confident adult life. Secure parental relationships at an early age lay the blueprint for an adult who is able to create and maintain positive and fulfilling relationships with others. A child who experiences insecure parental attachment will lack the security that aids the child’s mental development. This lack of security can open a range of possibilities for mental disorders. Certain types of attachment disorders, if not properly treated, may cause low self-esteem, inability to maintain healthy relationships, violence, and a negative outlook towards others in life. Keywords: attachments, emotion, relationship, secure, disorders The Relationship between Parental Attachments and Mental Disorders While there are many reasons for mental disabilities, the type attachment between caregiver and child have a profound impact on the ability for a child to develop positive relationships, learn coping skills, or control their emotions. The Online Psychology Dictionary (n.d.) defines attachment as “the tendency of human infants and animals to become emotionally close to certain individuals and to be calm and soothed while in their presence. For humans, attachment also involves and affects the tendency in adulthood to seek emotionally supportive relationships”. The attachment formed during infancy plays a crucial role in the social development in children. When a child feels comforted in a time of distress by a particular caregiver or experiences pleasure and nurturing, the child forms an attachment with that caregiver. As the child grows, the attachments formed will determine the child’s ability to be self-confident and trusting of others as well as set the foundation for how the child will deal with stress. The more positive a child’s attachments are, the greater the chances are that a child will continue throughout life with a strong foundation of social and emotional skills. Some parents lack the ability to understand that the experiences within the child’s environment actually form a blueprint within the child’s brain for future emotions such as fear, anxiety, aggression, and giving up. The nurturing and social connections aid in the child’s ability to copy or imitate the healthy and positive attachments which lead to one being able to accept love, be secure in his/herself and the ability to relate well with others. The lack of attachment formed between a parent/caregiver during the early stages of childhood can cause mental disorders later in life.
The attachment formed during infancy plays a profound role in the outcome of a child’s psychological health throughout life. The wrong types of attachments formed can have a long-lasting negative impact throughout life beginning in childhood and progressing through adult life. Negative attachments leave the child with a number of psychological problems which can include having unstable personal relationships and low self-esteem. Children with positive attachments are more apt to display higher peer social competence, not be quite as withdrawn, show high self-esteem, and have a stronger ability when coping in stressful situations. Psychoanalyst, John Bowlby (1982) originated the attachment theory which proposed that mental health and behavioral problems could be attributed to early childhood. For a child, the attachment bond with a protective, loving adult...
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