The Importance of Attachment (Connection)

“This will help you build character” is a saying I have heard non-stop from childhood. While this may be true for things like failing a test or going through a break up (what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger) the saying doesn’t apply to everything. Other use it as a joke but really how is your character/personality built and what are some aspects that influence personality.

One aspect that plays a big role in the forming of a personality is the idea of attachment theory. A term coined by John Bowlby that dictates a child’s relationship with their primary caregiver is important & critical for development. The relationship between the child and the Attachment Figure (AF) has a big hand in molding the child’s personality.

There are 4 attachment styles (up to date), each with their own differences. The different attachment styles and simple description are as follows: 

  1. Secure- the child is close and has a great/open relationship with their AF 
  1. Insecure/Avoidant- children usually avoid interaction with their AF and tend to avoid getting emotionally close. 
  1. Insecure/Resistant- children have a hard time getting a sense of security from their AF, which in turn may cause them to have a hard time regulating their emotions. 
  1. Insecure/Disorganized-disoriented- children don’t have a uniform/constant response to their AF. 

Attachment styles can affect you well into adulthood. Your style can also predict how you respond in your relationship and other social interactions. For example, if a person has an the avoidant attachment style, they are less likely to accept emotional intimacy. Whereas a person with a secure attachment style is more likely to feel comfortable expressing their emotions and accepting others emotions. There is also a correlation between your attachment style and confidence levels which in turn impacts mental health, learning and more. 

Studies even show that by looking at a child’s attachment style, teachers can predict future academic achievement. For example, a study found that those with a secure attachment style have better reading/pre-reading skills and an overly better outlook on reading, than insecurely attached children. The study also found that secure styled children have higher amounts of self-esteem. 

Attachment styles are not the only thing that impacts a persons personality/character and there can even be some overlapping between the different styles (ex- having traits from avoidant style & disorganized style). While the theory isn’t all encompassing , it can still help to bring awareness of just how important a bond between a child and their AF is.

If you’re interested in reading more about attachment theory/styles, do a quick search in one of our data bases here or check out books on the subject here.

(Edited by Ash Hermosillo)

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