Attachment and loss in childhood and beyond
This quote, from 250 years ago, reminds us that growing up bathed in the safe care of adults who consider us special is essential for life. We hope, in this chapter, to give the reader an overview of how attachment impacts on relationships across the lifespan. We will start with some detail about what attachment is and how it is measured. This will include a discussion of the range of attachment patterns and problems. We will touch on the way that attachment interacts with development and we will complete the circle by discussing how adult attachment styles impact on parenting. But what of children and families in which there are attachment difficulties? Children who have had difficult early attachment experiences may give confusing signals to caregivers and professionals. We will discuss ways that this can be overcome, including the part child and adolescent mental health services can play.