It begins before the child enters foster care, as a result of the child’s experience with his first caregivers, and the pattern continues after he leaves the system.
This subject comes to mind after reading a recent news story about Artyom Saleviev. In the United States, the number of children in the foster care system is close to 500,000.By the age of 3 years, children are either secure in their attachments to their caregivers or insecure.Children who are secure have the benefit of responsive caregivers that meet their needs for food, safety, and affection.As adults, they are slow to trust and at risk for mood and eating disorders.When a child’s needs are not responded to, or the child is abused, a disorganized pattern of attachment can lead to delayed development, social withdrawal, and aggressive or disruptive behavior.
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When caregivers discourage expressions of a child’s distress or affection, an avoidant style of attachment develops.