Why Is Attachment Important In Children

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Research has shown that a positive child-parent relationship and early attachments are crucial to young children’s ability to learn and develop cognitive, emotional and social capacity. This same research also reveals that early intervention in the mother- child relationship may prevent the emergence of problematic behaviour later in life (Santelices et al., 2010; Cohen et al., 1999). This is further supported by the fact that bonds of attachment developed within the first three years of a child’s life may also persist as models throughout life (Main & Hesse, 1990).
John Bowlby was the founder of attachment theory. Bowlby (1988) states that attachment behaviours are a biological function that serve the purpose of gaining security and protection from attachment figures who are perceived as being “better able to cope with the world” (p. 26). These biological functions can be recognised in specific conditions and behaviours that will assist in us in gaining or maintaining closeness and proximity to attachment figures. Attachment figures can be our parents, or can be other
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• How separation from attachment figures and/or a lack of attachment relationships impact on later relationship development.
• Our strategies for managing strong emotions and relationships in adulthood based on our experiences regarding whether attachment figures are available to us in childhood.

Lamb (2002) states that there is usually a hierarchy of attachment figures that is developed over time and is most noticeable in times of distress or when emotional and physical needs are pressing. Not all of our attachment behaviours will be the same with each person. Different attachment relationships and behaviours can be seen with main caregivers or supports in our life. This demonstrates the adaptability of our behaviour and how different attachment strategies can be developed depending on the current caregivers’ availability and
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