Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Insecure Children

I said last week that with my psychology studying I was able to apply some of it to my own life, and really there is a lot I can make posts on but right now I'm going to make a post on this particular thing. Last time I said how babies are willing to be social with people once their physical needs are met and they grow closer to the people who do take care of those needs. As they grow and develop into toddlers and even older they become secure and insecure. A secure child is happy to explore and see the world because they know in their head that their parents will always come back and rescue them should something go wrong, insecure children are the opposite. They are less secure in their world. Even with their parents.

An experiment was performed where children were placed in a room filled with toys and they were left alone. The children who were secure would walk around the room and play with the toys and then when their parents came in to the room they would run up to them. When a stranger came in to the room they would be wary, but not afraid. Or just not react and continue playing. When the insecure children were left alone in the room they wouldn't play with the toys. They would be nervous and just not do anything and when a stranger, and even their parents, came in to the room, they would back away from them. I don't think I would want my children to regard me the same way they do a stranger.

So, how does this relate to me? Well I think that when I was young I was quite secure. I was a happy and precocious young thing, and even though I played on the computer a lot even at nursery, I don't think I was as reserved. When my parents divorced though and when my sister was born, that all went downhill. My sister was stillborn you see and so my mum doted on her and always gave her attention. I suppose it's good I didn't become an attention seeker, but even from that moment I felt like I was on my own, and I lost faith in my parents. When I was 14 and referred to a psychiatrist, my parents got together and thought I should spend a night a week with my dad, and so I did become more secure with him, and still am, but the damage was still done a long time ago.

Things aren't totally lost for me though. There was also a story in the book about two brothers who were abused as kids and when they were found they were pretty much near death but 20 years later they were both happy and healthy and even in stable relationships because they were adopted by loving parents.

No matter the damage done by neglect and abuse, it can be fixed by love and care.


  1. This is so interesting Mark, like I've said before it's weird that children react in that way to things, they're so easy to mould really, it just depends what's done to mould them.

  2. "No matter the damage done by neglect and abuse, it can be fixed by love and care."
    So true.

  3. Damage done on younger ages leaves deeper wounds, so it'll take more effort, but as you said, it's not impossible to heal.

  4. You forgot to mention attachment. The Strange Situation experiment was used to determine children's attachment styles to their main caregiver/parent. I.e. secure attachment, insecure, resistant etc. There's lots of studies to support the theory that your attachment style with your parents as children determines how you are as an adult: extroverted, introverted etc.

  5. Interesting post! I was secure when I was younger, but as I grew older I became severely reserved and very quiet. I was sent to a psychiatrist when my parents divorced. I'm not sure if it helped any, but I'm definitely a lot more social now. Though, I feel like that was on acount of my own actions (not to discredit the psychiatrist any).

  6. My Cousin Margie worked on the research in Romania with orphans that led to the development of our understanding of attachment disorders. Her research should be in your textbooks somewhere. She also helped design the study where infant chimps were given the choice between a model of a mother that dispensed milk but was made of metal. The other model was made from fur and held the baby tightly. The babies all preferred the comfort of the arms over the food. How we are parented has a profound effect on who we become as adults.

  7. "No matter the damage done by neglect and abuse, it can be fixed by love and care."

    And this is why I hold such hope for my beautiful, wonderful, although a bit defective, husband.

    This was such a well written article, Mark. I really enjoyed reading it, it gave such hope.

  8. Not to be a pessimist but it's too an extent. For example, I don't think we've ever successfully fixed a sociopath or people with narcissistic disorders.

  9. This was a very interesting post. I agree that even the damaged, given enough love and care will heal

  10. Like your last related post, this is a very interesting topic, Mark. Thinking about it and my childhood, I guess you could say I was a very secure child up until my younger sister was born...


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