How Having Divorced Parents Can Affect Attachment Style

Having a secure relationship with caregivers in early childhood is what creates a secure attachment style, wherein a person is able to rely on others, allow others to rely on them, and generally form healthy relationships. But divorce in and of itself does not create an insecure attachment style.

“Attachment style is related to what the child experienced before, during, and after the divorce,” therapist Chamin Ajjan, M.S., LCSW, A-CBT, tells mbg.

That means the effects of a divorce on a child’s attachment style depends on amicable or fraught with tension. If parents openly communicate with the child throughout the divorce process, provide reassurance, stability, and are kind toward one another, Ajjan says the child will probably grow up with a secure attachment style. In fact, they may even feel healthier once their parents are separated and a new normal is established, she adds. 

On the flip side, high-conflict divorce, where a child experiences constant fighting, bad-mouthing, high levels of stress, and mixed messages about their parents, can lead to a range of insecure attachment styles including:

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