Bonding is a significant reciprocal attachment which both parties want and expect to continue and which is interrupted or terminated at increased peril to the parties involved.
Why is Bonding So Important?
Bonding is a very strong attachment, but it is much more than an intense emotional feeling. The term “bonding” is best used to describe the tipping point, that line or point in a relationship that suggests that the attachment has passed the line whereby its disruption may precipitate significant harm, either immediately or later. According to the research, the odds have been significantly raised that the child will experience problems with mental health, criminal behavior, homelessness, and other serious life problems.
Many studies document that interrupting bonded relationships lays the groundwork for serious problems in adjustment, occurring either immediately or showing up in later adult life. The hurt child loses the desire to attach and suffers an inability to feel compassion and form or maintain personal relationships. The resultant inability to cope with separation and loss in a growing child anticipates an increase in later adult dysfunction.
Statistics demonstrate that interrupting bonding is correlated with a significant increase in childhood and later adult mental illness, adult crime and violence, homelessness, and poverty. (Kenny and Groves, pp 59-80)
- Childhood pathology: The likelihood of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), AD/HD, Adjustment Disorders, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Developmental Delay, and Learning Disorders rises significantly.
- Adult mental illness: A significant increase in schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and other psych disorders follows in the wake of severed bonded relationships.
- Crime: Multiply-placed children are "psychopaths in the making."
- Homelessness: A large number of homeless adults have a history of drifting in and out of foster care.
- Poverty: The increased inability to forge permanent attachments leads to difficulty developing the means to support themselves over a lifetime.