Childhood Attachment Theories

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Early attachments of children to their caregivers are a widely studied subject among psychologists. Childhood attachment theories draw their theses and components from cognitive, behavioral, and psychoanalytic branches of psychology; in the form that attachments deals with what a child is thinking, doing, and the analyses of these attachments in later life (Weiten, 2005). "Attachment refers to the close, emotional bonds of affection that develop between infants and their caregivers." (Weiten, 2005) The age that attachments start forming is usually between 6 to 9 months, depending on the child; prior to this, a child can be handed off to babysitters with little protest, but after attachments begin forming children may develop separation anxiety (Weiten, 2005, Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2009). There are three to four different types of attachments. The first is a secure attachment, or healthy attachment, in which "securely attached infants, when distressed by caregiver separation, seek contact with her upon her return, react positively, and use the caregiver as a secure base from which they venture forth to explore the environment." (Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2009) An anxious-ambivalent child is anxious when their caregiver leaves, but is not particularly happy when she returns, and they may or may not use their caregiver as a base to explore their surroundings, they may just cling to her to entire time (Weiten, 2005). The last attachment for most psychologists is the avoidant
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