Classifications of Attachment:
Is the result of receptive, attentive caregiving. The child is upset with separation and seeks physical touch and comfort. Parents provide a supportive environment in which the child can recover from stressful experiences.
Child rejects caregiving. Children who have been repeatedly rejected or neglected by caregivers learn to distrust their emotions and relationships. They then view parents as not useful in meeting their needs because, “There no point in seeking assistance”. There appears to be little distress upon separation and the child actively turns away upon reunion. The child learns to tune out in order to survive.
“He never asks for any help.”
“He stares when he wants something. He won’t ask.”
“She glazes over.”
Inhibited: resistant to comforting, ambivalent
Disinhibited: Excessive familiarity with strangers
The child has experienced a caregiver who alternates between being engaged and disengaged. These children learn to disconnect themselves from others when parents or adults are acting in a rejecting or engaging manner.
Two Sub-Types of Ambivalent Attachment:
Resistant– The child can be anxious or clingy, experiences considerable stress when separated, yet behaves ambivalent or angry upon parents return. This child wants to dominate the caregivers time and attention, may refuse to sleep in her own bed, interrupts often, and frequently creates a disturbance for attention.
“She follows me throughout the house.”
Push/Pull – This child will ask for help and then refuse it, points out what the parent is doing wrong, or even ask for a hug but then squeezes or pinches. It is an “I want you, I don’t want you,” kind of relationship. It is common for this child to ask for help with homework, but then complain how the parent is helping.
A child who has been severely abused or neglected and whose caregiver failed to protect him is at risk for developing a disorganized attachment. This child exhibits erratic behavior, (e.g., dismissive, clingy, and aggressive). He is confused on avoiding or approaching the caregiver. The child appears rigid, hostile, intrusive, blaming, and rejecting. Will often explode when asked to do simple tasks. The child may be very distressed upon separation but appears dazed and confused when reunited. These children tend to force people to do what they want due to feeling abandoned, rejected, and betrayed. A pervasive feeling of helplessness dominates the thought process. The neural pathways in the prefrontal cortex of the brain failed to connect. These children will have the most difficulty with emotional, social, and cognitive impairments as well as affect regulation and feelings of empathy.
“I can’t trust anyone.”
“People just hurt and use you.”