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Parenting Styles and Attachment Disorder

Parenting Styles and Attachment Disorder

According to the report, Attachment Disorder, Basic Trust and Educational Psychology, King and Newnham define attachment disorder as more of a description rather than a physiological diagnosis based upon their study of Bowlby’s work regarding attachment disorder, Randolph’s description of Attachment Disorder, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder on Reactive Attachment Disorder (King & Newnham, 2011).  According to their research, the early relationship between mother and child form the basis and foundation of the child’s relationship with its parents and the future relationships of the child throughout the entirety of its life (King &Newnham, 2011).  In the formative years of a child, the child develops trust based upon the parenting styles of his or her parents (King & Newnham, 2011).  According to King and Newnham, “Secure attachment” stems from parents that offer a nurturing and comforting response to the child’s needs and “not secure attachment” stems from parents that neglect the needs of their child (p, 29).  The early bond between parent and child creates lasting personality traits within the child, which dictate the child’s formation of relationships throughout its lifetime (King &Newnham, 2011).  

In the textbook, Development across the Lifespan, Robert Feldman describes four distinct parenting styles and the effects these styles have on the attachment development of children (Feldman, 2011).  The four parenting styles discussed by Feldman are: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and uninvolved (p. 251).  According to Feldman, the most beneficial parenting style is authoritative, which is strict in nature allowing for firm limits, yet at the same time is nurturing to the emotional needs of the child. (Feldman, 2011).  Authoritative parents allow the child to be independent through communication and giving explanations as to why the child should act in a certain way (Feldman, 2011).  Children raised by authoritative parents are likeable, independent, assertive, motivated, able to form positive friendships, and have a strong awareness, which enables them to effectively steward their behavior (Feldman, 2011). 

Children raised with authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parents are not as well adjusted as children that are raised by authoritative parents, which model loving and kind ways of interacting (Feldman, 2011).  Authoritarian parents are completely inflexible and do not allow for the child’s disobedience, which creates a child that is extremely hostile and withdrawn (Feldman, 2011).  Permissive parents exhibit very little concern for the child and accept little to no responsibility in raising their child, creating a child that is totally reliant on the parent and moody (Feldman, 2011). The uninvolved parent in extreme cases would be considered neglectful because they reject the child and are emotionally uninvolved; creating a child that is emotionally disrupted and unable to feel loved and valued (Feldman, 2011).

Based upon the research of King and Newnham and Feldman’s description of parenting styles, authoritative parenting is the best method of achieving positive attachment behaviors in children (Feldman, 2011; King & Newnham, 2011). In addition, the research of King and Newnham along with Feldman’s description of parenting styles indicates that authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parenting styles create attachment disorders within children that may last throughout their lives (Feldman, 2011; King & Newnham, 2011).


Feldman, R. S.  (2011).  Development across the life span (6th ed.).  Upper Saddle River,           

NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


King, M. G. & Newnham, K. (2011).  Attachment disorder, basic trust and educational

psychology.  Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 8,

(27-35). Retrieved from