Stability of Attachment

Both the caregiver and the child contribute to an attachment relationship. So a child’s attachment bond with her mother might be different than her relationship with her nanny or grandpa. The stability of these attachments can also vary within and across relationships. Some children have stability in their attachment over time. Other children undergo changes in the quality of their attachment. The stability of attachment depends on children’s security of attachment and quality of caregiving. It is also related to a child’s traits and family life, which we just discussed.

Children with more secure attachments as infants often have more secure relationships throughout life. Yet lasting changes in a family can affect stability.

  • Attachment
    the lasting emotional bond that forms between infants and their primary caregivers
    Proximity maintenance
    a child stays close to an attachment figure for comfort and protection
    Safe haven
    an attachment figure provides comfort and safety when a child feels unsure
    Secure base
    an attachment figure’s presence gives a child the confidence to explore her environment
    Separation distress
    a child experiences stress or anxiety when an attachment figure leaves