To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 12 CHAPTER 1 empathy, be more insightful of other people’s feelings and thoughts, and engage in more cooperative interactions with peers later in childhood. In addition, these strong relationships build a basis of language development and set a foundation for more successful cognitive and academic outcomes (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2004b). Not all types of attachment relationships are positive. Indeed, secure attachments are most common, but relationships between children and caregivers can become strained or even destructive. In these relationships, children do not receive consistent messages of comfort and security, often causing them to learn mixed messages about their environment. To use the tennis metaphor, it is as if the second player didn’t return the ball back over the net, or perhaps hit the ball too hard to a spot where the first player couldn’t return it. The game quickly turns from friendly to frustrating. In the context of early relationships, babies may seek out adults’ responses by squealing or cooing, and if adults do not respond, respond negatively, or are inconsistent in their responses, babies will not receive messages of stability and comfort (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2004b). Instead, babies learn that seeking comfort results in either receiving no com- fort or being hurt by the caregiver. The lack of consistent, positive serve-and- return interactions can lead to insecure attachments. In these interactions, adults may respond to children’s babbles or cries with anger or indifference. When caregivers neglect to respond, babies may try even harder to engage the adults, perhaps leading to a negative outburst from the adults. Eventu- ally, babies learn that these caregivers are not consistently responsive to their needs, or worse, that the caregivers are the source of some threat to them. They may then completely disengage from the caregivers or be distressed by their presence (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2000). Of course, insecure attachments are not the same as the occasional missed response to a baby’s excited giggle. Insecure attachments are built on repeat- edly inconsistent or negative and hurtful responses to the child. All care- givers have days when they aren’t at their best. Insecure attachments form when parents have their worst day every day, and as a result cannot be the responsive, caring adults that babies require to meet their needs. Yet, even when infants learn that their caregivers are inconsistent in their care and responsiveness, these babies still gain important emotional support from the COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL