HOME arrow SYMPTOMS arrow Healthy Attachment
Monday, 01 March 2021
Healthy Attachment
Parents find it helpful to be aware of behaviors indicative of emotional health, as well as behaviors that are linked to attachment strain. While a child may show signs that he is bonding with his adoptive parents, he may still have one or more indicators of difficulty. While many look at attachment as an absolute, attachment is a continuum and signs of both healthy attachment and strain coexist in the same individual.

Children—including babies--who have experienced the trauma of adoption will not immediately transfer their attachment from one caregiver to another. They will need to start from ground zero and work toward building a healthy and secure attachment. For this reason it is wise to set the emotional age back to zero months at placement and allow--even encourage--regression. Some babies transition easier than others, especially if they’ve already experienced a healthy attachment with another caregiver. Yet foster care does not equate easy transition. Not all babies from foster care have positive attachments to their caregivers. If there was a healthy attachment, grief and the effects of a disrupted bond will be noticeable.

Because of the extreme changes and losses that go along with adoption, a baby may have difficulty from the moment he is placed in the arms of his forever parents or may show signs weeks, months, even years later. It only makes sense, given the history of loss, that a baby will show signs of attachment strain. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Parents need to be informed and proactive in order to best meet the emotional needs of their new baby from day one. Knowledge of positive attachment signs will help parents build on the areas that are strengths, but should not be used to ignore indications—even mild ones--that a baby/child is experiencing difficulty.

-A4everFamily in consultation with Kali Miller, PhD

Signs of Healthy Attachment
Top! Top!