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 Attachment issues develop when students have had breaks from their primary caregiver, abuse, neglect, loss of a parent, or if their needs have not been met in some way this can impair a student’s ability to develop healthy emotional attachments.

Some basic characteristics that a person who struggles with attachment are:

  • Indiscriminately seeks affection and/or comfort from strangers (pseudo attachment).
  • Anti-social behaviour (e.g. lying, stealing, cruelty, fire-setting, aggression).
  • Lack of authenticity, spontaneity, flexibility and empathy.
  • Lack of physical affection and/or inappropriate clinginess.
  • Poor eye contact.
  • Problems with learning, attending, self-regulation and self-monitoring.
  • Abnormal eating and elimination patterns (e.g. wetting and soiling).

It is important for parents to realise that being physically present isn’t enough. Love is essentially a form of focused and generous presence. Parents need to consistently let their students know they are worthy and good enough just as they are. This requires emotional presence and not just physical presence. This is one of the best gifts a parent can give their student.

Karen Joubert
Educational Psychologist

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