The disadvantages of insecure attachment

An insecure attachment pattern places the individual’s emotional development at risk. Insecurely attached children are not as resilient in dealing with emotional stress, and as a result they are more likely to develop emotional problems if their parents divorce or separate, move to a different neighborhood, or they lose a friend than are securely attached children.

They are not as able to cope with emotional stresses as well as securely attached children. They have a greater tendency to withdraw, isolate, and ask for help less readily. Children who avoid attachment are especially apt to “go it alone” when solving problems; those who are ambivalently attached tend to cling to their attachment figures and doubt their own ability to solve problems.

Insecurely attached children tend to have fewer friends than securely attached ones. They are less likely to join groups, more likely to resolve conflicts by recourse to aggression, and are less skilled at compromise. In addition, their memory, ability to learn, language development, endurance, flexibility, and ability to work with others are not as well developed as in children with a secure attachment.

Their capacity to feel empathy is not as nuanced as in securely attached children either. They find it considerably more difficult to empathize with the feelings, thoughts, and intentions of playmates or even adults. When they have children of their own, adults who are less empathic find it more difficult to perceive and engage sensitively with their children’s signals, and to help them develop secure attachment of their own.