The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it.

—Dr. Gabor Mate

Attachment Theory

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

—Frederick Douglass

I haven’t written a blog post on attachment and how important it is. I have written about the “Attachment Theory” in my book, My Courage to Tell.

It’s an important piece of study. And probably the most important thing that we need to know. Why? A child needs to attach to feel secure. The less attachment, the more insecure a child feels.

It really shouldn’t even be something that we need to talk about. But it seems that we have forgotten how important babies and children are.

Psychologists will tell you that the quality of love, from at least one primary caregiver, for a child up to three-years-old, will have a tremendous impact on that youngster. In 1969, psychologist John Bowlby developed the term the “Attachment Theory”. The theory emphasizes that a strong emotional and physical attachment is critical to a child’s growth in early years. The attachment gives the child security and a solid foundation. Without those attachments, children will become fearful. Anxious.

When I hear stories of teachers or grandparents stepping up and stopping the cycle of abuse, I call them heroes. Because they have saved a child. They have given that child hope, security, protection and love. I had no protection as a child. Being diagnosed with Complex PTSD showed me the long-lasting effects of child abuse and neglect.

I believe once our society starts to understand the importance of childhood, attachment and long-term effects, we will start to see more empathy in our world.

The World Health Organization has agreed that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is critical.

The science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Let’s get it together and deal with the real issues.