When a person becomes a parent, their role in life undoubtedly changes. The person must become a teacher, a guide, and a helping hand in the life of the child. Research has shown that there is a distinct connection between how a child is raised and their overall developmental outcome. John Bowlby’s attachment theory emphasizes the importance of the regular and sustained contact between the parent-infant or parent-child relationship (Travis & Waul 2003). Yet, what happens when the only physical contact a child can share with their parent is a hand pressed on the shield of glass that separates the two? What happens when the last memory of their mother or father was from the corner of their own living room as they watched their parent
' (Haith, 2014b, p. 466) Although a secure attachment does not occur from birth, ‘babies show signs of attachment through smiling, eye contact and crying. ' (Brandon et al., 2015) This shows the child 's main caregiver needs to begin to bond with their child for them to form a secure attachment. Bowlby believed ‘caregivers who neglect their children, bring up avoidant children. ' (Larose, & Bernier, 2001, p. 96-120). ‘Ambivalent/resistant children show negative behaviours to gain attention from others. ' (Kobak et al., 1993, p. 231-245) These statements show children who have an insecure attachment with their caregiver have a risk in behaviour problems. They will also have a less chance of developing their social and emotional skills effectively.
Bowlby’s attachment theory, as well as Erikson’s psychosocial theory, indicates that a child’s overall development is dependent on the care that they receive from their caregiver, more specifically their mother. Meeting the needs of the child and providing a
Being a stay-at-home mother was the main contributor to the type of bond that was created (Manis, 2014). Nameste had a constant caregiver early on which helped pave the road to her attachment to me (Manis, 2014). Another parenting decision that ushered her to secure attachment was never forcing her into uneasy settings (Manis, 2014). I paid close attention to her emotional needs (Manis, 2014). When she was upset in a situation I would swoop in and calm her down (Manis, 2014). If she could not be soothed I would remove her from the situation (Manis, 2014). She was only babysat for short amounts of time by a familiar caregiver (Manis, 2014). Which limited the number of caregivers allowing her to form a stronger bond with
Psychoanalyst, John Bowlby in the mid 19th hundreds, investigated attachment theory. Over the years, we have enhanced our understanding on how children attach to their primary caregiver earlier in life. Supported by attachment theory, infants have a window for the development of attachment to the primary caregiver, which, usually happens during the first months of life (Hardy, 2007). Given that Alexander’s parents’ left when he was only 3 months and was raised by his grandparents, it is no surprise that when he reunited with his parents, they felt like complete strangers to him, because they were not the ones meeting his needs early in life.
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)
In order to determine an infant’s attachment type, Ainsworth established an experimental study known as, “Strange Situation” (Berger, 2014, p.144). This study was an experiment off of Bowlby’s findings that suggest attachment “related behaviors, are activated in times of personal distress” (Bernier, Larose, & Whipple, 2005, p. 172). Therefore, within this study, an infant’s attachment was determined by studying their behavior and level of distress within a new environment at the absence or presence of their caregiver. Additionally, Bernier represents the results of Larose and Boivin’s 1998 study that express a possible correlation between “Strange Situation” and the transition from high school to college (Bernier et al., 2005, p. 173) as both
According to Bowlby, the founder of attachment theory, a dependable, safe, and caring relationship with a primary caregiver is vital to an infant’s psychological health (Bowlby, 1951). In particular, children lacking a secure attachment with their primary caregivers are at risk of developing emotional and behavioral issues (Blakely & Dziadosz, 2015). Unfortunately, the human bonds normally formed in infancy are fractured in neglected and abused children suffering from RAD (Shi, 2014). As a result, these children become withdrawn, distrustful, and fearful of the world (Shi, 2014).
Although the study is thorough in describing findings among those who are adopted from institutions, specifically orphanages, the study falls short of describing attachment patterns with children who are adopted at birth and had no experience with institutions. Therefore, I do not believe that the study conducted by Marcovitch et al. (1997) describes attachment among all adopted children, but it does describe how children who spend a considerable amount of of their first year of life in orphanages are more likely to have issues later in life since attachment theorist believe that attachment or lack thereof can affect cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). In fact, the outcomes of children who spend a majority of their early years in an institutional setting can be attributed to the “lack of an attachment figure” (Marcovitch et al., 1997, pp. 19).
As of 2006, approximately 1.5% of urban infants in the US were in foster care (Cole, 2006). This is a system and a lifestyle that will likely affect the rest of their lives via developmental and relational problems, for the most part against their will. John Bowlby, one of the main scientists behind Attachment Theory once wrote about forming a secure attachment “the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment” (1951, p. 13). This is a challenging feat for foster children, who don’t necessarily have a permanent mother substitute. While I expected the literature to describe foster kids to typically have some degree of Reactive Attachment Disorder, it turns out that this is fairly rare, occurring in less than ten percent of children who were severely neglected as children (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The literature more often refers to insecure and avoidant attachment as the main attachment style among foster and institutionalized children. Individuals with avoidant attachment styles have learned through interaction with caregivers that any support-seeking or emotional expression will be met with rejection, and therefore avoid doing so. The following will detail and at points expand on or critique articles supporting the notion that foster children often have avoidant attachment styles, and that this is often problematic.
Young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver in order for their social and emotional development to occur normally. Without this attachment, they will suffer serious psychological and social impairment. During the first two years, how the parents or caregivers respond to their infants, particularly during times of distress, establishes the types of patterns of attachment their children form. These patterns will go on to guide the child’s feelings, thoughts and expectations as an adult in future
The concept of infant-mother attachment is as important to the child as the birth itself. The effect this relationship has on a child shall affect that child for its entire life. A secure attachment to the mother or a primary caregiver is imperative for a child’s development. Ainsworth’s study shows that a mother is responsive to her infant’s behavioral cues which will develop into a strong infant-mother attachment. This will result in a child who can easily, without stress, be separated from his mother and without any anxiety. Of course the study shows a child with a weak infant-mother relationship will lead to mistrust, anxiety, and will never really be that close with the mother. Without the
An infant with a secure attachment style has a natural bond with their parent, where they are able to trust them, at the same time leaving their side to discover and explore their surroundings. In an insecure/resistant attachment the relationship the child has with their mother or caregiver is very clingy, thus making them very upset once the caregiver is away. When the mother or caregiver is back they are not easily comforted and resist their effort in comforting them. In an insecure/avoidant attachment the infant is, “indifferent and seems to avoid the mother, they are as easily comforted by a stranger, as by their parent” (Siegler 2011, p.429). Lastly, the disorganized/disoriented attachment is another insecure attachment style in which the infant has no way of coping with stress making their behavior confusing or contradictory. Through these brief descriptions of the attachment theory, many researchers have defined the turning point in which each attachment definition can have an influence on one’s self esteem, well-being and their marital relationship.
There are a number of influences that contribute to the formation of attachments and the differences among individuals. One influence on attachment is the amount of time a caregiver spends with an infant. The amount of time can be affected by the age, health, and social status of the mother. For example, a younger, teenage mother, may return to school in order to complete their education. Returning to school can preoccupy a mother and create a disconnect when an infant’s distress and behaviors are not attended to or ignored. Another example of how the amount of time spent with an infant can be affected is a single-mother or a mother who returns to work within the sensitive time of an infant’s development. Similar to the younger mother example,
By responding with care and comfort, this enables for an “attachment bond” to form between the infant and caregiver, most commonly the mother (White et al., 2013). Following on from Bowlby’s theory, Mary Ainsworth investigated the theory of attachment through observing the reactions of infants when their mothers left them alone with strangers. The investigation was named as the “Ainsworth’s strange situation assessment” (White et al., 2013). It was discovered through this investigation that infants who had secure attachments with their mothers were upset when separated and were easily soothed when the mother returns. This investigation implies that infants with secure attachment to their mothers show signs of normal social development.