Security is the quality of being safe or free of danger. In psychological terms, this may be considered in terms of attachment or bonding—the prime example of which is between parent and child. Securely attached children show appropriate distress when their caregivers leave yet are able to compose themselves and respond positively to the caregivers’ return. Secure children feel that their caregivers dependably protect them. Conversely, insecurely attached children may be excessively distressed when their caregivers are absent, may avoid their caregivers when present, or show chaotic patterns of interaction with caregivers. Mother–child attachment depends on sensitive caregiving thoughts and behaviors, governed by neural processes that adapt to the early postpartum period and shift developmentally. For infants, maternal sensitivity critically shapes infants’ concurrent and ...

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