What is Secure Attachment?
The secure attachment style is the most prevalent type of attachment in western societies. About 66% of people in the US are securely attached.
People with this type of attachment tend to be independent, warm and self-satisfied. They understand and are capable of expressing their emotions. They also build long-lasting relationships that are meaningful and deep.
People with secure attachments are even popular in the workplace.
It may be beneficial for parents who wish to raise securely attached children to research the topic and resolve any attachment issues they may have.
What is attachment theory?
People often joke that a therapist will ask them about their childhood if they go to see him or her. Usually, if you are speaking with a therapist about a relationship problem, it is the case.
Why? The explanation is in attachment theory, which originated in the 1950s. Psychoanalyst and psychiatrist John Bowlby states that the way we perceive and act in relationships throughout our lives is determined by our early relationships with parents or caregivers.
What is the process here? Our parents or primary caregivers are our main source of care as infants or children. For us to survive, they are essential. Therefore, we must attach to them and rely on them to take good care of us.
It is the parents’ job to provide us with an environment that is warm, nurturing, and meets all our needs.
Our attachment style is secure and stable if they are responsive to our needs and attentive to our needs. We are likely to develop insecure attachments if our needs are not met, or if we perceive that our needs are not being met.
Related: Avoidant Attachment Style
What causes insecure attachment?
Individuals could suffer negative impacts on their mental health, social behavior, and ability to form stable, long-term relationships in adulthood.
It is imperative to remember that no parent is perfect.
The caregivers who raised us most likely made mistakes, and parents themselves sometimes make mistakes. This in no way implies that we will raise children with attachment issues. A secure attachment style is developed by about two-thirds of children.
Related: Avoidant Attachment Style
What factors influence children’s attachment style?
The first thing a child expects from their caregivers is to be satisfied.
Physical cues (such as crying) are used by babies as a way to alert caregivers of problems they are experiencing.
Secure attachment style parents don’t break that trust simply because they raise their children that way. This may seem simple, but it’s not always the case.
If you want to raise a child with a secure attachment style, here are five things you should consider as a parent.
Related: Anxious Attachment Style
How to raise a child who has a secure attachment
1. The child feels safe
Parents want their children to feel protected above all else. Your child will feel safe if they feel protected.
Infants and toddlers see safety as being close to their mother as she provides food, warmth and protection. When they are separated from their mother, danger occurs.
Attuned mothers are protective and attentive but not overbearing, intrusive or neglectful. Her child is given the freedom to explore the world, but she stays close enough so that a feeling of safety is felt by the child.
Infants can be enveloped in a warm, protective embrace when they get scared when they stray too far.
By doing so, they are being communicated the message: “I am here for you.”. Dear me. I love you.
2. The child feels seen and known
Those who are attuned to their baby’s needs can read their cues accurately.
Infants learn about the consequence of their actions from their receptive responses.
When children signal their needs, they understand that they will receive prompt, predictable and accurate responses.
Starting at a young age, babies have a sense of control over their lives:
- If I signal to my mother that I am hungry, she feeds me.
- When I signal tiredness, my caregiver rocks me to sleep.
- My caregiver soothes my distress when I signal my distress.
Related: Preoccupied Attachment Style
3. The child feels comforted, soothed, and reassured.
Parents who are attuned hold their arms open for their children.
The caregiver makes the child feel comfortable and calm by reassuring and soothing him/her.
In order to develop an internal model of being soothed and comforted, children must be helped to manage their distress and frustrations.
Children develop the ability to self-soothe and manage their distress as they grow.
4. The child feels valued
Self-esteem is built upon the foundation of feeling valued in early childhood.
Children whose parents have good self-esteem constantly emphasize who the child is rather than what they do. They prefer to be rather than to do.
“Expressed delight” in almost everything the child does is exhibited by such parents. Parenting is not about chores, but about enjoying them.
5. The child feels encouraged to explore
Finally, children need to feel supported in their exploration of their world.
This is a way of demonstrating deep faith in a child and the importance of always providing a safety net to them. The child is deeply involved in his or her life, yet parents give him or her space and point him or her toward autonomy and independence.
Through these experiences, the child develops a true sense of self, one that is good, strong, unique and autonomous.
Related: Types of Attachment Styles
Make sure the child knows what to do.
Getting back to our point, you don’t want to break the child’s trust in you. It’s not the details here that matter, but rather the overall approach to parenting that matters. You shouldn’t be concerned about a few minor mistakes here and there, as they will not affect your child’s attachment to you.
It might be a good idea to aim for a few things. Children with insecure attachment styles are most likely to develop them due to inconsistency in their parents.
Do not alter your parenting strategy too frequently. The child feels calm and secure by knowing what to expect. It is not good for a child to feel constantly on edge.
Being unaware of your own emotions and emotional needs is another major risk factor for building a secure attachment with your child. It is likely that you will pass on an insecure attachment style to your children.
In that case, it might be a good idea to start taking self-help books or online courses, or speaking with someone close to you, if you think you might have attachment issues.
A final note: stay calm. Secure attachment is about a child’s trust in you and their love for you, and you don’t have to become stressed over every single detail of parenting or your relationship with your child.
Related: Disorganized Attachment Style
Here are 10 signs that an adult relationship is secure
- Manage your feelings and emotions well
- Make decisions based on goals
- Great at bonding with people, opening up to them, and trusting them
- Understanding who you are and what your life’s purpose is
- Effectively communicating your needs
- Being able to make a difference in the world
- Enjoying close relationships and mutual reliance
- Encourage your partner to provide you with emotional support
- Able to be alone comfortably and use that time for exploration
- Capable of reflecting upon how you behave in relationships
The 3 signs of secure attachment in adults
Secure attachment styles in adults tend to make it easier for them to establish social contacts, bond with others and have intimate relationships.
Those with autism have a high level of awareness of their emotions, as well as the ability to both express and experience them. Their behavior is straightforward and open, and they do not go to extremes.
1. Positive self-image
People who are securely attached feel good about themselves. Reassurance is not necessary in order for them to feel valued or loved.
Intimacy and emotional closeness are not necessarily rejected or avoided by these individuals. It just comes naturally to them, individually and in relationships.
2. Positivity towards others
Positive attitudes towards others are also present in these people. It’s not uncommon for them to trust their partners and do not feel compelled to be jealous of them or question their intentions towards them.
They are capable of accepting displays of affection without being threatened or confused. The most common characteristics of people with a secure attachment style are warmth, love and lovability.
They aim to create and maintain long-term, meaningful romantic relationships. Easily bond with others and are comfortable in close proximity.
3. Positive attitude toward childhood
People who are closely attached to their parents tend to see their childhoods positively.
They can reflect on and understand their childhood experiences, even if it was not perfect one. The goodwill remains and the bad will be erased.
Is it possible to develop a secure attachment style in adult?
You ought to take a moment to realize that you belong to the profile described above.
Say thank you to your parents. You might wonder whether you can change your attachment style and make it more secure if you suspect that it is not totally secure.
It is possible for adults to establish secure attachments as well.
I suggest getting familiar with the three types of insecure attachments first.
It might be beneficial to read some articles to get a better understanding of where you stand. Do not worry if you don’t perfectly match a profile. It is your life story that makes you unique.
When a child grows up in a healthy environment with emotionally accessible caregivers, a secure attachment style usually develops.
You can form strong and stable relationships later in life if you see good examples from caregivers and have a secure attachment style.
You can change your attachment style if you put in the time and energy to do so if you have an avoidant or anxious style.
You can take the first steps towards a secure attachment by speaking to a mental health professional.