Attachment in Infancy and its Lifelong Effects

I have a theory that the young people who shoot up children at school are products of a lack of bonding. The bonding that should have taken place, didn’t. When this attachment is lacking (because of illness, death, adoption, etc) the child grows up unable to communicate effectly with others. They become isolated and unable to cope with their problems. They don’t have the attachment to their parents that they should have.

This attachment or bonding begins long before birth. Today’s practices in parenting advise pregnant women to caress their babies, not tummies. These moms are urged to give their babies names and pet names. Parents are told to bond with the unborn child by talking, reading, singing, and playing music to him/her. These new techniques may have profound effects on these children as they grow to maturity and adult hood. Once the child is born, the same bonding techniques plus loving eye contact are used.

I work in a pregnancy crisis center which educates parents about their prenatal issues, their own health, the health of the unborn child, the birthing process, and parenting issues with new babies and toddlers. Mothers bond easily with their unborn babies. They call the babies by name and give them comfort. They speak soothingly to these babies and gently massage them. Bonding is taking place in the womb.

When the baby is born, the new mother knows to connect with the baby by looking into its eyes, touching him/her, and massaging the small infant. The key to bonding is the love of the mother going from her eyes to her baby’s eyes. This is the way our children learn to love and to communicate before they learn language. Our voices and eyes need to give the same messages. If we neglect to give our babies this bond, these children might grow up without knowing how to communicate with others. Eye contact is a relatively new theory. Touch has been the central bonding technique until recently. Watch a baby when it loses eye contact with its mother. It will search the room for another pair of eyes to give it love. This contact actually gives the child a dose of love.

It has crossed my mind in recent months that young people who are “loners” are usually those who end up in school massacres and mall shootings. Perhaps they did not get the full bonding between the parent and the child. These young people do not know how to communicate because they might not have gotten their “filling” of love from the mothers. A child has to be loved in order to know and give love. If we concentrate on lovingly bonding with our children, perhaps we can solve the disasters that are becoming more and more prevalent. In our world of both parents working and leaving the children to fend for themselves, we do them harm in the long run because they are being isolated from communication.

In conclusion, babies who are stroked, soothed, held, and get a healthy dose of eye contact from their parents and siblings, are more likely to become personable, communicative adults. I would like to be around in ten years when the data comes in using these new bonding techniques. I know they will astound us. For today, remember that babies need love; it is not possible to receive this concentrated type of love in a daycare center. It must come from the family. Our family values need to take precedence in the lives of our small children. Love your children with your eyes. Teachers, watch your eyes, too. Many times all our students see are negative eyes, disapproving eyes. We need to make sure that positive loving communication comes from our eyes. All who influence our children need to be more aware of what our eye contact is saying. Perhaps the future will show a difference. Are children will have hope, and they will be able to talk to a parent or teacher if they are having trouble.