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Sensitive parenting is the foundation for secure attachment relationships and positive social-emotional development of children

Anja van der Voort (Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Femmie Juffer (Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg (Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 10 June 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The quality of the attachment relationship between children and their parents is important for children's social-emotional development and can have profound consequences for adaptational processes in later life. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the current knowledge about sensitive parenting and its role in affecting infants’ attachment security, and developmental outcomes of attachment. The authors end with a brief discussion of evidence-based interventions aimed at improving sensitive parenting and the attachment relationship between children and parents.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors refer to meta-analyses as quantitative reviews in which all available studies conducted on a particular subject (such as maternal sensitivity and attachment) are included.

Findings

The authors conclude that numerous empirical studies and meta-analyses have confirmed the importance of sensitive parenting and attachment security for children's social-emotional development, providing a robust evidence base for translation, implementation, and intervention in practice.

Originality/value

This paper gives an overview of the current knowledge about attachment security, the role of sensitive parenting and the developmental outcomes of attachment, and provides a brief discussion of attachment-based interventions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to the third author (NWO VIDI and VICI grant) is gratefully acknowledged.

Citation

van der Voort, A., Juffer, F. and J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. (2014), "Sensitive parenting is the foundation for secure attachment relationships and positive social-emotional development of children", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 165-176. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-12-2013-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited