Young Child Should Not Be A Permanent Mother Substitute Essay

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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.

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