Attachment Theory and Its Basis for Advice on How to Bring Up Children
One crucial concept of bringing up children is attachment. British
psychologist John Bowlby (1907-90) developed the attachment theory and
argued that a basic characteristic of human need was to form strong
emotional bonds with particular individuals, deprivation of secure
attachments through separation, bereavement or emotional distance he
believed caused disruption to a child’s development.
Mary Ainsworth(1985) a student of Bowlby extended upon his theories
focusing on the nature and quality of attachment relationships
between infant and primary caregiver.
There have been many critiques to Bowlbys attachment theory and all
will be examined in order to answer the question. The attachment
theory will be looked at in respect to its practical implications for
child rearing in the context of both family members and day care
Evidence from research has provided information about factors which
form the foundations of secure and insecure attachments these have
implications for different types of child care.
Very early, children develop internal working models, internalised
ideas about the nature of their relationships with primary
caregivers, they base these on former interactions and experiences
(Bowlby,1969). These models remain relatively unchanged and continue
to influence patterns of behaviour in later relationships.
Emotional ties balance between a desire to maintain proximity to the
primary caregiver and the natural pre-disposition to explore the world
around. Separation from the primary caregiver activates sets of
behaviours to bring about close proximity, receive attention and
emotional security. When the attachment system has reached its goal
and the child feels a secure attachment bond then attachment
behaviours subside, this usually occurs after the first year. Only
when the child is placed in a threatening situation will the child
re-call these set of behaviours like when meeting with a stranger.
Ainsworth also believed in the concept of the child having a secure
base with a primary caregiver from which the child could then explore
the environment. Ainsworth studied the differences in quality of
attachment between mother-child pairs. She came to the conclusion that
it was more the sensitive and responsive behaviour of the mother that
developed a firm bond during the infants first year and that this was
the contributing factor of secure and insecure relationships.
To develop this theory Ainsworth used the strange situation technique
to evaluate maternal sensitivity to her babies signals. This was a
labatory based procedure which involved observing a mother and child
during brief separations and re-unions. Ainsworth deduced three
contrasting types of attachment based on her...