Attachment theory in Raising Children
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Psychology|
|✅ Wordcount: 1432 words||✅ Published: 9th Aug 2021|
Attachment is the link that forms between the person taking care of an infant and the infant itself from when it is between eight to nine months of age, giving the child security emotionally. Bonding starts from when a child is being given food, and goes on to participating in pseudo-dialogue and then it is followed by the child taking part in more active roles of proto dialogue, as shown by Kaye (1982), other ideas such as inter-subjectivity and scaffolding have been looked into by psychologists. As an infant continues growing, their attention towards the person taking care of them increases.
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John Bowlby (1958, 1980) founder of the attachment theory was involved in extensive analysis on the emotional link between infants and adults and he had a strong belief that the early relationships greatly determined the emotional and behavioral growth of a child. An earlier study done by Bowlby in 1944 found out that children who had an unstable upbringing where more likely to become juvenile derelicts. His work is often free to criticism and has been improved on with further research. Other following research has measured different levels of security and insecurity in children from early times by use of the method known as Strange Situation Test. Other explorations have also shown different types of the difficult habits and how a child may relate with the person taking care of them actively.
Bowlby’s theory was founded on ideas from ethology studies and earlier works. The psychodynamic theory as put by Sigmund Freund was very pertinent during the 50’s following the Second World War when women were taking up caring for households and playing motherhood roles as men were going back to employment post war. Sigmund believed that every child ought to have a relationship with one caregiver ‘monotropism’ and that separating from this person would bring about the ‘proximity promoting behaviors’ in the attachment order. The caregiver coming would cause the behaviors of, clinging, making noise and crying to come to an end. The protected grounds of the affectionate links present between the parent and infant representation becomes part and parcel of the inner working model. These therefore become the heart and the base of all close relationship during continuation of the child’s life all through to adulthood. The interference of a mother and child’s relationship through lack of emotion, separation and bereavement to the bonding process.
Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation (1951, 1953) was supported by Konrad Lorenz imprinting study on the young ones of animals done in 1966. He believed that the child’s caregiver should impress as a constant figure, and that lack of maternal links between mother and child could be dangerous to the child’s health mentally and could cause delinquency. His opinions on long term organizational care were that if a child was placed in a foster home before reaching two years and six months social, emotional and cognitive development may not be delayed but his other works show there has been varying types of parting in youth with serious behavioral issues. Attachment behavior as looked into by Mary Ainsworth works (1985 Ainsworth and Bell, 1974 Ainsworth et al 1978) becomes the base for all potential connections and this develops up to two years from the time the child is born. She also agreed with Bowlby on the view that the attachment bonding occurs at the age of two years. Roughly when the child is seven months old they become watchful of strangers and unknown environments. This continues until the child attains two years of age. The process Ainsworth (1969) investigated to determine if a child was securely or insecurely connected was the ‘strange situation paradigm’. This involved a series of short separations and reunions. The child’s parent and a person unknown to the child took part in the study with a child aged one year, there were eight series in total and Ainsworth’s measurement on secure and insecure connection was founded on the reunion scene of how the child reacted in such a situation. Evaluation was carried out using four different variables. The results showed that there were three main varying styles of adjusting. Type A was the anxious/avoidant. Type B secure and Type C was the anxious /ambivalent. Most children showed secure attachment; one fifth of them showed anxious/avoidant and one tenth showed anxious/ambivalent. Main and Solomon (1990) introduced yet another variable, D Type: which in recent times was disorganized to match the behaviors of children in risky environments. The ‘strange situation paradigm’, has been faulted by Judy Dunn (1982, 1983), she believed that children from varying backgrounds like institutional care and those living with their families may bring different meanings to the test and the child’s environment. The method and results of the experiment are doubted even by Judy Dunn herself. In another study carried out by Richman in 1982 et al it showed that different dangerous factors of disturbed behavior can be evident from the time a child is three years old. Some of the factors known to influence a child’s emotional development are the mother’s mental state, marital stability and the parents’ attitudes to the child. The child’s active part must also be taken into consideration when giving advice on bringing up children as is shown in Sameroff’s 1991 transactional model, as children interact with their environments, while the caregiver develops the child’s behavior and how they will relate in future.
In Ainsworth and Bowlby’s view in which they both agree relationships are universal it can said that different peoples and cultures have different degrees on how long a child should be left alone, Japanese, the Chinese and the Israeli results showed Type C in a research done across cultures by one Marinus van Ijzendoorn and Peter Kroonenberg in 1988. Problems could also be with the ethological view of drawing comparisons between children and the young ones of animals as they could be controlled by an instinct. Bowlby considered only the effect on the child by the caregiver yet other factors could affect this such as the child moods. A mother whose child has a thorny mood could prefer to work and leave their child in a day facility which in turn could have a negative effect on the mother being unable to leave the child behind with other people. The mothers’ patience and the look of the goodness of fit Chess and Thomas (1984) could impact on the behavior and a reflection on the attachment link between the child and mother. Bowbly and Ainsworth were together in the development of secure links as per the sensitive mothering of a child in its first year but it could have an impact on the mother as argued by Woollet and Pheonix in 1991, where if she has to give up all her earlier duties and work possibly leading to frustrations. A workable alternative is to share the responsibility of parenting but this would be in contrast to Ainsworth and Bowlby’s opinion.
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The showing of the movie ‘A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital’, by James Robertson in 1952 showed the stress and pains of a child separated from the mother during a long stay in hospital. During this period mothers were advised not to pay regular visits to their children while in hospital. According to Ainsworth and Bowlby the separation of the child could have terribly affected its emotional wellbeing and the bonding process. Separation and providing alternative means for taking care of the child have been researched on more recently. Day care was among the topics researched into by Bowlby and he believed that if a child started nursery schooling before attaining three years of age, it would also cause irreparable damage to the child. However, recent studies done during the 70’s and 80’s have shown varying opinions and this was proved in a research carried out by Laurence Steinberg and Jan Belsky in 1978 and in yet another study done by Clarke-Stewart and Fein (1983). A much later study done by Belsky (1988), had different views as mothers who worked for more than 20 hours a week showed a higher level of insecure attachment as compared to his earlier study which found absolutely no problems with taking children for day care, Clarke-Stewart opposed this data. Other crucial factors that needed to be taken into consideration according to Belsky were the difference in the surroundings, the children in the day care facility, the staff at the day care and the quality of the day care.
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