Bowlby’s Attachment Theory Essay

1651 words - 7 pages

Bowlby’s attachment theory has greatly influenced practice. His theory of attachment explains the importance of having a figure that the child shares a strong bond with. Having an attachment can significantly support a child’s development as Barbara Woods suggests that “his theory of attachment proposed that attachment is innate in both infants and mothers, and that the formation of this attachment is crucial for the infants development” Wood, B (2001, p.53). Bowlby believed that forming an attachment will help a child develop in all areas e.g. emotionally, physical and mentally. However if they did not form an attachment in the sensitive period, the child may have issues or problems in their cognitive, emotional and social development. “Attachment is as essential for the child’s psychological well-being as food is for physical health claimed Bowlby” Wood, B (2001, p.54). Bowlby claimed in this statement that attachment is a necessary thing which a child needs in order to develop healthily.
There is evidence from other theorists who support Bowlby’s theory of attachment such as Harlow whose approach is based upon a caregiver’s sensitivity and attachment. Ainsworth is another theorist whose research supports Bowlby’s theory of attachment. In her strange situation study, she tested for the attachment types and what effects they had on a child’s behaviour. “Ainsworth and Witting (1969) devised the strange situation to be able to test the nature of attachment systematically” Cardwell, M. (2000). They found three attachment types, secure attachment, insecure-avoidant and insecure –resistant. They found that the different attachments had different effects on a child’s behaviour. Bowlby’s theory talks about having a secure base which allows a child to explore its environment. In practice we have key workers who act as a secure base, which allows children to wander around and explore the room. If any problems occur to the child, they can return to their secure base which is their key worker, who can offer them comfort. Although key workers are not there for children who have not formed an attachment with their parents, they are they to offer support and comfort. The strength of Bowlby’s approach is that it has introduced the key worker system, which has helped a great deal with supporting children’s needs and development. Key workers can track their progress and plan and implement activities which promote their development. While working at my last year’s placement in a nursery setting, I was informed that each child had a key worker assigned to them. I observed that when parents would leave their children, some would cry and get upset, the key worker would then take them aside and comfort them or try to distract them. Having the key workers there for them made the child more emotionally secure.

His theory has also influenced other child care practices such as hospitals. Parents are now able to stay with their children due to understanding their...

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