The mother-child bond is the primary force in infant development, according to the attachment bond theory pioneered by English psychiatrist John Bowlby and American psychologist Mary Ainsworth. The theory has gained strength through worldwide scientific studies and the use of brain imaging technology.
The attachment bond theory states that the relationship between infants and primary caretakers is responsible for:
- shaping all of our future relationships
- strengthening or damaging our abilities to focus, be conscious of our feelings, and calm ourselves
- the ability to bounce back from misfortune
Research reveals the infant/adult interactions that result in a successful, secure attachment, are those where both mother and infant can sense the other’s feelings and emotions. In other words, an infant feels safe and understood when the mother responds to their cries and accurately interprets their changing needs. Unsuccessful or insecure attachment occurs when there is a failure in this communication of feelings.
Researchers found that successful adult relationships depend on the ability to:
- manage stress
- stay “tuned in” with emotions
- use communicative body language
- be playful in a mutually engaging manner
- be readily forgiving, relinquishing grudges
The same research also found that an insecure attachment may be caused by abuse, but it is just as likely to be caused by isolation or loneliness.
These discoveries offer a new glimpse into successful love relationships, providing the keys to identifying and repairing a love relationship that is on the rocks.