Lesson 7: Why is it important to avoid getting too attached?

Lesson 7 Chapter 2

Attachment to children

Whether you are going to work directly with children or not, it is important to be aware of what attachment means. In developing countries you easily get in contact with children. Even if you're not directly working with children, you might be living with a host family with children, or you might for example work in a clinic where children spend a period of time due to illness. In all those cases it is important to be aware of attachment. 

Please have a look at the following examples:


“Viet is such a cute boy. Every morning he crawls towards me and I give him his bottle of milk. If I go away he starts crying. I find it difficult to leave him there like that. I don’t know yet how I will do this if I really leave for good.”


“We spent two weeks in the care home for street children. There was a new girl who did not make contact with anybody, who did not want to eat and who seemed scared. I started making contact with her. After a few days she started eating better and even wanted to play outside with me. She always holds me tight. I spent a lot of time with her.” 

…….two weeks later …...

“We are leaving, our time is up. When we drive away I see the little girl crying and screaming: ‘Mami, Mami’. Oh this is so hard’.

In these two examples a volunteer gets really close to a child. This can be very detrimental for the development of the child, and therefore needs to be avoided. In the next lesson we will explain more about this attachment to children. 

Next lesson: What should I know about attachment?