Secure attachment is marked by the child’s tendency to reconnect with the parent upon reunion (or when stressed at home), to be appropriately soothed by the parent, and then to quickly return to play and exploration. From his or her experience of using the parent as a secure base from which to explore and as a safe haven during times of stress, the child learns to internalize the parent’s regulation of his or her affect, to self-soothe, and to develop positive expectations of self and others. The essence of secure attachment is thus the mother’s regulation of the infant’s internal states, from which the child develops the capacity to self-regulate. In avoidant attachment, the parent is responsive to the degree that the child displays no overt need or distress (Izard & Kobak, 1991). The child thus learns that the best way to maintain contact with the rejecting parent is to suppress any expression of negative affect, with the unfortunate result that the avoidant child fails to learn to recognize and modulate his or her own negative affect. This child also learns to be highly self-sufficient and to detach as a way to ward off additional disappointment by the unresponsive caregiver.
— Pamela C. Alexander, from J. D. Ford & C. A. Courtois (Ed.) Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents