Wednesday, 19 March 2014


We talked about attachment in play therapy classes. 

I remember watching a very old video by John Bowlby and couldn't help pondering if IZ was (at that point of time) securely attached. I remember the child in the video would cry when the caretaker leaves, and happy when the caretaker comes back.

I told my classmates and lecturer that my son has never cried when I left him.

I resumed traveling (for work) when IZ turned 4 months old.

He has watched me packing and leaving. He has watched me coming back. Whenever possible, IZ and daddy will be waiting at the airport to wait for my arrival.

Most of the times, he would run to me, smiling and give me a big bear hug.

And just like that, we reconnected. It was as if he has never felt my absence.

So why I did not think IZ is securely attached then?

He never asked for me, he never cried for me.

His Playgroup teacher told me he was somewhat unusual during the period I travel (when he was 18~24 months old) but he never cried. She then learnt that I was away during that period.

The few occasions he cried when I left him, was leaving him in a completely new environment, new school(s).

He has never cried when I left for work either. Every morning, I would give him a big hug and kiss and bid him farewell. From when he was a young baby. I'm sure glad we didn't have to go through the phase "daddy and mommy need to go to work for..". I guess my weak heart wouldn't be able to take that.

I finally concluded that he is indeed securely attached last weekend.

I brought him to a birthday party on Saturday, at a chalet we've never been, crowded with "strangers" we have never met before. I brought him to pee in the washroom, and asked that he wait for me to pee. He said "I wait for you outside ok?"

That 6 words were so powerful, they symbolized independence.

I somehow felt relieved there and then, I was happy he displayed independence. I was happy he felt securely attached that he trusted to explore on his own. I was happy when he made friends with strangers that he may never meet again.

I hope we can continuously walk towards connected secured attachment bonding so that he can grow up being a positive and trusting man.

(Source from here)

Characteristics of Secure Attachment

Children who are securely attached generally become visibly upset when their caregivers leave, and are happy when their parents return. When frightened, these children will seek comfort from the parent or caregiver. Contact initiated by a parent is readily accepted by securely attached children and they greet the return of a parent with positive behavior. While these children can be comforted to some extent by other people in the absence of a parent or caregiver, they clearly prefer parents to strangers.

Characteristics of Ambivalent Attachment

Children who are ambivalently attached tend to be extremely suspicious of strangers. These children display considerable distress when separated from a parent or caregiver, but do not seem reassured or comforted by the return of the parent. In some cases, the child might passively reject the parent by refusing comfort, or may openly display direct aggression toward the parent.

Characteristics of Avoidant Attachment

Children with avoidant attachment styles tend to avoid parents and caregivers. This avoidance often becomes especially pronounced after a period of absence. These children might not reject attention from a parent, but neither do they seek our comfort or contact. Children with an avoidant attachment show no preference between a parent and a complete stranger.

Characteristics of Disorganized Attachment

Children with a disorganized-insecure attachment style show a lack of clear attachment behavior. Their actions and responses to caregivers are often a mix of behaviors, including avoidance or resistance. These children are described as displaying dazed behavior, sometimes seeming either confused or apprehensive in the presence of a caregiver.


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