Factors Promoting Safe Attachment in Children
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Factors Promoting Safe Attachment in Children

How can parents do their best to let their child develop a safe form of attachment? This article discusses the two main factors: quality of upbringing, and the child's temperament.

Parents and Factors

The chance that a child will develop a safe attachment, is highest in parents that are relaxed, sensitive for the needs and desires of their child, react appropriately and consistently, and hadle the child tender and caring. The two main factors that play an important role in the attachment type of a child, are:

  • The quality of its upbringing, and
  • The temperament of the child.

Quality of Upbringing

Parents who avoid physical contact, act routinely with their child and handle their child in a negative way increase the odds of the child developing an unsafe style of attachment. In avoiding children, sometimes the parents are over-stimulating, continuously acting energetic towards the child, even when it is tired and falling asleep. In disorganized and disoriented children, chances are highest for parents abusing their children.

Temperament of the Child

The second factor that has been found to be influential in the development of an attachment style, is the child’s temper. Some children are just annoyed more easily, or scared more easily, or more taxing for the parents. This factor will have the largest impact when the parents are not adequately equipped to handle the needs of their child appropriately.

Cultural differences?

For a long time, it has been thought that there were large cultural differences in attachment relationships, since the methods of upbringing strongly differ between cultures. However, recent research has shown that these differences are a lot smaller than previously thought and can be partially explained by the mother’s age and differences in wealth. Each culture prefers a safe attachment style over others.

It has been found, though, that children of older mothers show a safe attachment more often than children of young mothers. Another observation is that children from financially struggling families tend to show a less solid attachment. Financial problems can lead to emotional stress, which can be reflected in how the children are dealt with. Less money also means that the children can be given less opportunities (toys, experiences, …) that can have a positive effect on the well-being and development of the child.

Nevertheless, these are trends. This does not mean that young mothers, or financially less fortunate people are bad parents. Remember that the quality of upbringing depends largely on showing love and appreciation for your child.


  • Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J. & Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2007). Resaerch Review: Genetic vulnerability or differential susceptibility in child development: the case of attachment. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 48(12), pp. 1160 – 1173.
  • Love, J.M.; Harrison, L.; Sagi-Schwartz, A.; Van IJzendoorn, M.H.; Ross, C.; Ungerer, J.A.; Raikes, H.; Brady- Smith, C.; Boller, K.; Brooks-Gunn, J.; Constantine, J.; Kisker, E.E.; Paulsell, D. & Chazan-Cohen, R. (2003). Child Care Quality Matters: How Conclusions May Vary With Context. Child Development. 74(4), pp. 1021 – 1033.

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