What is the internal working model of attachment and how it affects the way we parent.
An internal working model of attachment is a mental representation influences generated by a children’s early experiences with their main caregiver.
As the child grows, this mental picture impacts how he or she interacts with others and forms connections.
It also explains the variations in human behavior between individuals.
This is why I like to practice positive parenting. I want my children to remember me in a positive light, and interact with others in the same way! It’s difficult to change the world to being a kinder, better place for our children but if there is anything that we can do as parents, it’s using positive techniques (while still disciplining and teaching our young children important lessons) and seeing them treat others in the same way.
The internal working model of attachment plays an important role in young children and their emotional development.
How Is The Internal Working Model Formed
According to psychiatrist John Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment, babies are born hardwired to seek connection and closeness to their caregivers in order to survive, resulting in a deep attachment relationship.
Bowlby’s attachment theory states that children internalize this attachment process throughout time and utilize these foundational ties as a model for eventual interactions outside the home. This relationship prototype consists of a collection of archetypes of themselves and others known as internal working models.
Psychiatrist john bowlby’s theory states that internal working models are the ways in which the child understands and responds to the caregiver’s behavior. The child develops an expectation and utilizes it to plan and decide how they will interact with others.
To simplify bowlby’s theory – The relationship between a child and their parent in early life has a direct effect in how your child forms secure relationships in the future.
See also: 5 Parenting Styles And How They Work
What Do Internal Working Models Have To Do With Child Development
Internal working models are important in the development of a child because they serve as an inner guidance system and as a form of emotional support for future behavior.
They have an impact on an individual’s emotions, behavior, interpersonal interactions, and expectations of others in relationships. These models work independently of conscious awareness. They automatically direct one’s attention and behavior in early relationships.
Although IWMs are dynamic and can vary depending on the circumstances, working models tend to remain stable over time.
As a result, the quality of a children’s parent-child interaction in early childhood may certainly influence a person’s future relationships.
When Do Internal Working Models Develop
According to Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, infants begin building internal working models around the age of three.
These models are only available in early infancy for the identification of attachment figures and short-term anticipation.
However, when children go through cognitive development, these models evolve into generic mental representations of themselves and others.
This image is carried through into adulthood and has a tremendous influence on one’s thoughts, feelings, attachment behaviors, and human connections, particularly in romantic relationships.
Internal Working Models of Self and Others
As one interacts with intimate individuals, an internal working model of the self emerges. A kid might form views about his or her own worth in the eyes of their primary caregiver based on how receptive they are.
A child’s early experiences that involve consistent replies from his or her caregiver develops a positive self-image. They see their attachment figure as a safe haven to which they may retreat.
A child who has an inconsistent or inattentive attachment figure develops a poor self-image and low self-esteem as a result of his or her perception of self as undesirable and worthless. Because of their lack of attachment security, individuals do not believe their caregivers.
Because we want our children to grow up empathetic and well behaved we need to make sure we focus on creating a positive internal working model for our children because they learn by association, just like classical conditioning.
Working Models and Attachment Styles
According to diverse combinations of one’s inner working models of the self and others, researchers have established four adult attachment types.
A securely connected individual has a good feeling of worth and expects other people to be receptive and responsive in general has a secure attachment style.
A preoccupied individual has a sense of unworthiness yet has a good opinion of others. The individual aspires for acceptance from important ones.
A person with fearful- avoidant attachment style feels unworthy and expects others to be untrustworthy and rejecting. By avoiding intimate interaction with others, the individual saves herself against expected rejection. Nonetheless, they rely heavily on others to maintain a good self-image.
Individuals who are dismissive-avoidant have a strong sense of self-worth but a negative attitude toward others. By avoiding personal relationships and preserving a sense of independence and invulnerability, the individual saves herself against disappointment. They are emotionally distant or dismissive of the bond.
Intergenerational transfer of internal working models is common. The working model patterns of a parent, particularly the insecure attachment system, are often handed down to their children.
Researchers discovered that children who have a history of secure attachment at one year old had more adaptable relationships not just with their parents, but also with their classmates and instructors. These children’s, including their own children when they become parents, act in predictable ways.
Similarly, maltreated children who develop insecure attachment likely to become abusive parents, causing insecure attachment in their own children. This maltreated-maltreated cycle is one of the most egregious instances of how internal working models developed in early attachment relationships are carried forward and reenacted in later relationships between themselves and others.
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