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Parent/infant relationship issues

Learn the key aspects of issues in the relationship between parent and infant.

Parent/infant relationship issues impact the emotional bond between a parent and their child, influencing the child's emotional, social, and cognitive development. Key aspects include:


  1. Attachment issues: Challenges in forming a secure attachment due to factors like parental mental health, past trauma, or misunderstanding infant cues. Secure attachment is the basis of healthy emotional development.
  2. Emotional unavailability/inconsistency: Problems arise when a parent is persistently unresponsive to their child’s emotional needs and/or when their responses are inconsistent; they may be detached and struggle to display warmth and affection or be unpredictable in how they respond; over time this can affect the parent-infant relationship and the child’s ability to understand and communicate their own feelings.
  3. Poor parental mental health: A parent’s mental health, including conditions like postnatal depression or anxiety, can hinder their ability to bond with their baby.
  4. Infant temperament and health: Difficulties in the relationship can stem from the infant’s temperament or health issues, making parents feel overwhelmed or disconnected.
  5. Environmental stressors: Factors such as poverty, lack of support, or domestic violence can deplete a parent's emotional resources, impacting the relationship.
  6. Parenting skills: Lack of knowledge about infant development or parenting skills can lead to misinterpretation of infant behaviours and may result in unresponsive or insensitive care.
  7. Inter-generational patterns: Past unresolved trauma or negative parenting experiences can unconsciously influence the parent's relationship with their child.