Discuss Role Of Attachment In Childhood Emotional Development

1151 words - 5 pages

Psychology EssayThe role of attachment in childhood emotional development is imperative, as the bond of attachment in infants to the person who takes care of them, is sometimes said to lay the foundations for all later relationships.Until some forty years ago it was widely believed that the love for the mother was a direct consequence of the fact that she provided the means to satisfy basic biological needs-she provided food, warmth, physical protection and relief from pain.The cupboard theory has been criticised on several grounds, one being the fact that babies often show great interest in people other than those who feed them. For example infants seem to enjoy being cuddled, smiled ...view middle of the document...

A widely used procedure is the strange situation devised by Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues for children of about one year of age. A child is first brought into an unfamiliar room that contains many toys and then allowed to explore and play with the mother present. After a while a stranger enters, talks to the mother, and then approaches the child. The next step is a brief separation-the mother leaves the child alone with the stranger. After a few minutes though the mother returns and the stranger leaves. According to Ainsworth and her colleagues, the behaviour of one year olds in this situation falls into one of three major categories. The children described as "securely attached" explore, play with the toys and even make wary overtures to the stranger so long as the mother is present. They show some distress when the mother leaves, but greet her return with great enthusiasm. The remaining children show behaviour patterns that Ainsworth and her colleagues regard as signs of insecure attachment. These children are described as anxious and resistant. They don't explore even in the mothers presence, become upset and panicky when she leaves and act ambivalent during the reunion running to her to picked up and the struggling to get down. Other children show a pattern called "anxious/ avoidant". They are distant and aloof from the very outset, show little distress when the mother leaves and ignore her when she returns. Children in this experiment who show the most stable attachments, at age one are likely to be well adjusted years later; children who show unstable attachments at age one are likely to be poorly adjusted years later. Therefore, stating that the role of attachment in early childhood plays a vital part in childhood emotional development.A number of authors believe that early separation from the mother may lead to lasting psychological damage. Thus, John Bowlby in keeping with the views already described, asserts that any disturbances of a childs initial attachment to the mother will render the child less secure in later life. Many children nowadays are put into day care or nursery schools etc. There is evidence to suggest that an increase in nonmaternal child care is indeed problematic.A different and often more distressing form of separation is endured by children whose parents divorce a situation faced...


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