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What does a secure attachment relationship look like?

Here we see a real life reunion with attachment to dad and look at the balance that is now needed between keeping close and exploring once the child becomes mobile. We hear about John Bowlby's theory of secure attachments leading to emotional stability in later life.

Good for looking at

  • Real life reunion behaviour with dad
  • Several attachments
  • Attachment hierarchy
  • Safe base
  • Inner happiness
  • Confidence to explore

Transcript of video – What does a secure attachment relationship look like?

Here’s a real life reunion. Leila’s also now attached to her dad and he’s come to Granny’s house to collect her. This reunion behaviour clearly shows the quality of the secure attachment to him.

So Leila now has several attachment figures, Jess, Dad, Granny and a child-minder. But there is a hierarchy and if Jess is available she’s Leila’s first choice at times of distress.

Leila’s now in a larger, strange environment. Her attachment figure has to strike a balance between being on hand when needed and allowing her the freedom to explore. As Jess moves away, Leila behaves as if she was attached by a piece of elastic. She keeps herself at what she feels to be a safe distance. Leila feels confident in her play and exploration knowing that she has a reliable base. The distance that feels safe will depend on circumstances and it will increase with age. Some insecurely attached children won’t behave like this. They won’t feel confident to explore freely and happily. Bowlby believed that the type of attachment formed in the early years can greatly affect emotional stability later on – and research supports this. Inner happiness and the ability to cope with life’s difficulties develop largely from an early, secure attachment experience.