Attachment theory is a concept that explores the importance of attachment in respect to direct development. “It is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space” (Bowlby, 1969; McLeod, 2009). It is the relationship that develops within the first year of the infant’s life between them and their caregiver. The theory also relates to the quality of the attachment that is shown in the behavior of the infant (Rieser-Danner, 2016). Attachment theory shows that infants need a close nurturing relationship with their caregiver in order to have a healthy relationship. Lack of response from the caregiver
The importance of a healthy attachment in early childhood development can lead to a better adult development and skills for daily life. A secure and healthy attachment to the caregiver in infancy to adolescence showcases the importance of building strong relationships and coping skills during periods of stress and anxiety. The research that has been found, goes into detail about the different types of attachments that infants and children can develop as well as what negative and positive aspects come along with the attachments.
Infant attachment is the first relationship a child experiences and is crucial to the child’s survival (BOOK). A mother’s response to her child will yield either a secure bond or insecurity with the infant. Parents who respond “more sensitively and responsively to the child’s distress” establish a secure bond faster than “parents of insecure children”. (Attachment and Emotion, page 475) The quality of the attachment has “profound implications for the child’s feelings of security and capacity to form trusting relationships” (Book). Simply stated, a positive early attachment will likely yield positive physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive development for the child. (BOOK)
John Bowlby’s work in attachment has been one of the foundational works when determining the level of attachments and bonds that a child and parent may experience (Webb, 2011). According to Bowlby, “attachment” is referring to a lasting, mutual bond of affection that is dependent on an individual or more than one person (Webb, 2011). Establishing a secure attachment during infancy and early childhood is an important task of a parent or a caregiver. Not all parents or caregivers can provide their child or children with a secure attachment at this important in life due to various reasons. Since parents are the main providers in their child’s development of attachment, their lives and history have a great influence on their children’s lives.
Over the years research has shown that attachment is critical to human development, and that in many ways early childhood attachments set up a framework for intimate relationships in adulthood. As they begin to develop an attachment with their caregivers infants go through several phases. The first phase is the asocial phase, which occurs during the first six weeks of an infant's life (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). The second phase is the phase of indiscriminate attachments, which lasts until the infant is six or seven months old (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). When infants are about seven to nine months of age they are go through what is called the specific attachment phase (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). It is during this time that infants establish their initial genuine attachments (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). The development of a secure attachment during this time is critical for, "… it promotes the development of exploratory behavior" (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). Finally, during the phase of multiple attachments, in which infants are about nine to eighteen months old, they begin to develop attachments to multiple people (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014).
Attachment is a bond between a child and it 's primary carer. The infant will want to stay close to the adult and want to be cared by them. Children with strong attachments cry less when separated. They engage in more pretend play and sustain attention for longer. They are less aggressive and are popular with other children and adults. Their sense of who they are is strong. Children need to be safe in the relationship they have with their main carers. They are vulnerable but will develop resilience when their physical and psychological well-being is protected by an adult. Being emotionally attached to an adult helps the children feel secure that the person they depend on is there for them. When children feel safe they are more inclined to try things out and be more independent. They are confident to express their ideas and feelings and feel good about themselves. Attachment influences and child 's immediate all-round development and
Attachment is a key developmental goal in early childhood, and refers to the evolutionary drive for a young child to maintain proximity with a caregiver for the purposes of safety, protection, and regulation. Once attachments have been formed, the child can use the caregiver as a secure base to explore the environment and as a source of support and comfort when distressed. Young children begin to develop attachments with caregivers at a cognitive age of about 7 to 9 months; at this time the child will begin to show a preference for the attached person and may begin to object to being separated or show wariness with other, less familiar adults.
This report discusses and evaluates the experiment conducted by Mary Ainsworth (1970) on several types of attachments one year-olds form and can form with their parents, specifically mothers. It discusses how these attachments are formed and further explains the function of the attachments for future development. Supported ideas are included to support agreement with Ainsworth’s theories. Suggested interventions to help children develop healthy attachments concludes the report.
What is Attachment?:- “Attachment is the close bond between two people which endures over time and leads to certain behaviors such as proximity seeking, clinging and distress on separation, These behaviors serve the function of protecting an infant”
The essence of attachment to a developing infant cannot be overstated. It is at the heart of healthy child development. Also, it lays a foundation when it comes to relating with others. It plays a crucial role in influencing the parent's ability to nurture and to be responsive to their children. The effects of attachment to the developing infant are long-term. Bowlby, the developer of the theory of infant-caregiver attachment, attachment security determines the infant’s preferential desire for contact with his or her caregiver (Levine, 23). The child uses the caregiver as a “secure base” from which to explore the environment. When infants develop securely attached relationships to their caregivers, they will have positive behaviours in the future. They also tend to show resiliency to new environments.
* Schaffer and Emerson (1964) noted that specific attachments started at about 8 months and, very shortly thereafter, the infants became attached to other people. By 18 months very few (13%) were attached to only one person; some had five or more attachments. This criticises Bowlby’s idea of having to have continuous care from one mother figure as well as Bowlby’s view of the critical period and monotropy.
Attachment occurs in toddlerhood and this is when a child starts to create an emotional bond with the significant people in their life, mostly their parents/ caregivers. The reason why children “attach” is because it provides safety, security, the opportunity to learn new things, and it is the start of how they will act in relationships that they form later in life (Donohue, 2015). There have been many studies that confirm that attachment starts later on in life and that without attachment there can be some serious social consequences later on in life. Attachment occurs in every child and for me it has definitely shaped who I am today.
The first relationships we form with our caregivers forms a pathway in which we continue to follow in future social interactions as we get older. This initial emotional bond, whether secure, insecure or ambivalent, typical is formed with our mom and dad, is known as attachment. John Bowlby, presented his theory regarding the stages in attachment development in 1969. In the primary stage of preattachment, beginning from birth to around six weeks of age, occurs when newborns develop sensory preferences that allow them to form connections with the primary caregiver, typically the mother. In the second stage, attachment in the making, infants develop a form of stranger anxiety and can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces.
Calisir (2009) stated that attachments help children give meaning to the world, self, and the child’s personality development is dependent upon attachments formed. According to the attachment theory, children are born unattached and as the child interacts with their caregiver’s, attachment is formed and stays with the child throughout their entire life (Zeanah et al., 2011). The quality of care provided by the parents, to the child, determines the type of attachment that is formed and how the child develops as an adult (Monks et al.,
John Bowlby’s theory of attachment asserts that an infant forms an attachment to the primary caregiver to ensure survival. Developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth furthered this idea by devising attachment styles in infants. Ainsworth believed that the quality of care given by the mother or primary caregiver results in the infant developing a secure or insecure attachment. Ainsworth identified three attachment styles, namely; secure, avoidant and anxious/ambivalent attachments. As the word infers, a secure infant has trust in the caregiver and will use the mother as a secure base from which they can explore. Conversely, an avoidant attachment results in the child not having confidence in the mother where attempts to be intimate have been rejected, and anxious ambivalent attachment is a result of inconsistent parenting where the child is left feeling anxious, suspicious and mistrustful. A further contribution to attachment styles was made by psychologists’ Mary Main and Judith Solomon, who suggested a fourth type; disorganized attachment, where a child behaves in a disoriented and contradictory manner. Maternal sensitivity refers to the extent to which the maternal figure is available to the infant. There is, however, an argument that biology is the reason for the bond that is formed by an infant with its mother and the attachment style they develop in life. This paper serves to demonstrate that attachment styles are a result of both biological factors and the sensitivity