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How Attachment Impacts Kids’ Behavior in Modern Culture

April 2, 2021
3 min read

Changes in parenting styles over time, even within the last twenty years, have led to changes in kids’ behavior and emotional health. Choosing healthy parenting methods is a must in order to develop strong relationships with your kids and help them learn to understand boundaries and respond to challenges. Attachment-based parenting involves creating an environment where kids feel safe and trust that the people around them will meet their needs, which helps them learn to show the same type of respect for others. 

Changes in Kids’ Behavior in the Classroom

Many teachers and other adults have noticed that modern kids tend not to adhere to boundaries as closely as they did even twenty years ago. Although all kids are different, certain patterns have emerged that indicate that many kids are more distracted, less respectful, less able to listen in class, and less likely to follow classroom rules than they were in the past. Many of these changes are likely related to changes in parenting methods, which may impact how kids view their relationships with adults.  

Increase in Mental Health Conditions in Kids and Teens

In addition to obvious changes in behavior, many kids and teens are experiencing more mental health issues than they did in the past. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems have skyrocketed among kids and teens in the last twenty years, and approximately ten million kids and teens under age 17 are currently taking medication for these conditions. These mental health challenges can often be linked to behavior problems, especially among teens.

Decrease in Resilience in Kids and Teens

Kids and teens also seem to be struggling with resilience more than they did in the past, which can make school, work, relationships, independence, and life in general more difficult. Decreased resilience may also make overcoming depression, anxiety, and struggles with identifying boundaries more challenging, Although resilience is difficult to quantify, studying how kids develop resilience may identify ways that parenting decisions when they are young can impact them throughout their lives. 

Scientific Relationships Between Attachment and Behavior Challenges

Although it is difficult to scientifically study exactly how kids’ behavior has changed and pinpoint exactly what is causing it, many scientific surveys and statistics have indicated data-backed patterns related to differences in kids’ behavior, resilience, and mental health over the last twenty years. While it is a stretch to say without a doubt that parents are negatively affecting their kids, science does support correlations between changes in parenting methods and changes in average behavior among large groups of kids.  

Impact of Parenting Methods on Behavior

Parenting methods, especially during the formative years, can have a significant impact on how kids view the world and themselves throughout childhood and into adulthood. In an effort to avoid fear-based parenting and make their kids like them more, modern parents may inadvertently make life more difficult for their kids by not teaching them enough about respect and boundaries from an early age.

Healthy attachment-based parenting utilizes mutual trust and respect as a foundation for understanding boundaries and proper behavior, rather than avoiding teaching these concepts, and children who do not have a sense of trust in and respect for the people around them often struggle to learn these concepts on their own. Many mental health problems in kids can also be linked to not having a solid understanding of what is expected of them and their place in their families, schools, and the world.  

Research shows that kids who have what is called a “secure attachment” with their parents do better in just about every area of life. Read the work of Dr Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson or listen to a podcast here. 

At The Relationship School, we are committed to helping parents learn how to build strong relationships with their children. Making intentional parenting decisions from the time your children are born is key when it comes to helping them develop proper behavior and healthy relationships of their own later on. Contact us today to learn more about how attachment-based parenting can help your kids thrive!

Click here to listen to the full podcast on the topic of attachment-based parenting.

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