What Is The Significance Of Parent And Child Relationships To Sylvia Amelia Julia And Olivia In Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories And Dani In Jane El...

1641 words - 7 pages

Fact: In the UK alone, a child goes missing every five minutes. Some of these children are found; others become the focus of high-profile media campaigns. A few are never seen again.

Psychologists call the relationship between child and parent “attachment.” The attachment theory, or the study of these relationships, has shed light on the importance of the relationships between parent and child as well as pointed out some of the key steps parents can take to raise their children well. In addition, mothers and fathers take on different roles in bringing up a well-developed child.

The warmth that parents bring to their children’s lives starts at infancy. Mothers and fathers of young children shower their kids with baby-talk and physical touch. These behaviours show the child that others are sensitive of their needs and those parents can be relied on for emotional responsiveness. However, this didn’t occur until twelve years later in Dani’s life, whereas Olivia, three years old , is her mother’s, Rosemary’s favourite and is described as ‘so lovable’ – a word Sylvia-Amelia-Julia had never heard her use to describe any of them – and is wished to “stay at this age for ever” because of this. Dani’s mother, Hayley, didn’t get the chance to hold her child before she was “placed in a clear Perspex cot and wheeled out of the birthing room” to the intensive care unit as she was premature – birthed at only five months “so small. So desperately, impossible small – barely larger than the midwife’s hands”. Although despite Hayley’s absolute exhaustion afterwards, she still felt “an overwhelming need to reach out and touch the child”, but her strength left her when she pushed herself up, so “she could do nothing but look” as her child was taken away. Meanwhile, Rosemary shows sparse love towards her the three older children, restricting her words to tedious commands such as “come here”, “go away” and “be quiet”, though most frequent of all “stop that”.

Haley was only fifteen years old then, but despite being a child herself and Dani being a result of rape by two boys; she still wanted a relationship with her baby. Unlike her parents had with her. On the other hand, Rosemary, addresses the eldest three children as “Julia-Sylvia-Amelia-whoever you are” – as they were “too close together in age to be distinguishable so had evolved into a collective child” – in an exasperated tone as if it was their fault that there so many of them “everyone agreed they were a handful”. Olivia is excluded from this “weary litany” as Rosemary never seemed to get her mixed up with the others. However, Sylvia refers to Olivia as “an afterthought” though the Sylvia-Amelia-Julia trio knew that there was no such thing as an afterthought, and the "fetus," - as Sylvia insisted on calling it as she was very keen on science subjects - that was making their mother so irritable and lethargic was probably their father's last-ditch attempt to acquire a son.

Hayley’s mother and father regularly...

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