What is attachment and how does it relate to being raised in institutions?

Attachment theory argues that a strong emotional and physical attachment to at least one primary caregiver is critical to personal development. John Bowlby first coined the term after studying the developmental psychology of children from various backgrounds.

Being part of a family makes a child feel loved. This helps build an important sense of attachment. Learning and understanding this in childhood becomes the ‘blueprint’ for future relationships. Children who grow up in institutions often don’t learn how or are deprived of the opportunity to form meaningful attachments particularly with adults who function as the parent figure(s), that all-important constant in a young life.

If such attachment needs continue to be unmet the child could develop an attachment disorder and life-long mental health and relationship issues.

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