Becoming Attached Book Summary - Becoming Attached Book explained in key points
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Becoming Attached summary

Robert Karen

First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

3.8 (91 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

'Becoming Attached' by Robert Karen is a captivating exploration of attachment theory. It delves into the importance of early childhood experiences and their impact on adult relationships.

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    Becoming Attached
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    The strong bond between children and their parents or other caregivers is called attachment.

    How much can you remember about your early childhood? Probably not much. But you’ll definitely remember the person who cared for you: your primary caregiver. In most cases, children’s primary caregiver is their mother. The special connection between children and their main caregiver is called attachment.

    Attachment is a very complex process that children begin in their first year of life. It’s a basic biological need for a simple reason: children can’t survive on their own.

    Attachment develops in different phases. In the first weeks of their lives, newborns don’t have any preference for their mothers. But, after a few weeks, they can differentiate between faces and recognize their mother or other primary caregiver. As they continue to grow, they show signs of distress if their caregiver isn’t nearby. This is the start of attachment.

    Researchers have studied monkeys to gain some understanding of attachment. In one study, they separated baby monkeys from their mothers right after birth and raised them in a cage that had two fake “mothers” made out of wire. One of the “mothers” had a soft cloth wrapped around it, and the other had a feeding nipple. They wanted to see which of the mothers the baby monkeys would prefer.

    In the end, the baby monkeys spent most of their time cuddling with the cloth mother, and went to the other one only for food. Their needs for warmth, love and attachment were more important to them than eating.

    Although attachment is something that we’ve all experienced, the study of it is rather controversial. There are many disputed theories, and people within the field often try to push parents into a certain parenting style. In the following blinks, we’ll learn more about these different theories.

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    What is Becoming Attached about?

    This book is about the importance of children’s first relationships, especially with their primary caregiver, typically the mother. It offers insights into the ways that attachment can positively or negatively affect children’s development, and offers a great deal of scientific research on important findings concerning attachment.

    Becoming Attached Review

    Becoming Attached (1994) by Robert Karen offers a thought-provoking exploration of the powerful impact of early childhood attachments on our adult relationships. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • With compelling case studies and insightful analysis, it unveils the profound influence of early bonding experiences, shedding light on the complexities of human connection.
    • By examining the long-term effects of attachment styles on emotions, behavior, and relationships, it provides valuable self-awareness and tools for personal growth.
    • Through its nuanced understanding of attachment theory and the impact of early relationships, the book challenges popular misconceptions and invites readers to reevaluate their own beliefs about love and intimacy.

      Best quote from Becoming Attached

      The problem we have as parents, is not usually a lack of love [...], but an unwillingness to face who we are.

      —Robert Karen
      example alt text

      Who should read Becoming Attached?

      • Anyone interested in psychology
      • Anyone interested in child care
      • Parents or anyone about to become a parent

      About the Author

      Robert Karen is a clinical psychologist and the author of several successful books on psychology, the most recent of which is The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection. He is also assistant clinical professor at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies.

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      Becoming Attached FAQs 

      What is the main message of Becoming Attached?

      The main message of Becoming Attached is the importance of early parent-child relationships in shaping personality and future relationships.

      How long does it take to read Becoming Attached?

      The reading time for Becoming Attached varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

      Is Becoming Attached a good book? Is it worth reading?

      Becoming Attached is a thought-provoking book that sheds light on the impact of early relationships. It is definitely worth a read.

      Who is the author of Becoming Attached?

      Robert Karen is the author of Becoming Attached.

      What to read after Becoming Attached?

      If you're wondering what to read next after Becoming Attached, here are some recommendations we suggest:
      • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry
      • Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt
      • Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
      • Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin
      • Screamfree Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel
      • How to Raise Successful People by Esther Wojcicki
      • Parenting Outside the Lines by Meghan Leahy
      • Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller
      • Tiny Humans, Big Emotions by Alyssa Gloria Campbell & Lauren Stauble
      • The Happy Kid Handbook by Katie Hurley