Attachment allows the child to learn trust and feel secure with the person they are bonding with, this is important in how they form relationships with others. Also the child is likely to develop strong self- esteem as they grow older. If the care giver makes the child feel secure and happy the child is more likely to develop a similar personality and a strong feeling of self worth. John Bowlby (1969) defined attachment as “a lasting connectedness between two human beings” (Http://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html) Attachment overall, is the foundations set by the caregiver or adult that can contribute to the child growing up knowing how to be caring and loving towards others as they mature. Sociability starts from birth and is the ability to be sociable and form relationships with others.
As an infant, we form our first relationship as an attachment with our caretaker. The development of the caretaker-to-infant bond is, in many ways, essential to the infant's survival and influences all later attachments and our overall emotional and social development. Infant’s experiences are critical to shaping the capacity to form intimate and emotionally healthy relationships. Empathy, caring, sharing, inhibition of aggression, capacity to love, and many other characteristics of a healthy, happy, and productive person are related to the core attachment capabilities formed during infancy and early childhood. Attachment is important because children need to have a sense of security in all aspects of their lives so that they can grow up to be healthy and productive adults.
Bowlby argued that attachment was an "evolved mechanism;" an innate response that ensured the survival of the child. Bowlby argued that the first attachment between a baby and its caregiver provided the child with an internal working model. This is referred to as the continuity hypothesis and it gives the child an idea of themselves as lovable (or not) and of other people as trustworthy (or not.) Bowlby suggested the idea of monotropy in his attachment theory; the idea that an attachment to a single caregiver provides the experience of an intense emotional relationship and forms the basis of the internal working model; it is the schema a child has for forming future relationships, both socially and personally. He also described social releasers; sucking, smiling, crying and cuddling.
The child’s first bond, called attachment, is an enduring emotional tie that unites the child to one or more caregivers and has a far- reaching effects on the child’s development. Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” Bowlby believed the earliest attachments between children and their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. According to Bowlby, attachment also serves to keep the infant close to the mother, thus improving the chances for survival. The central idea of attachment theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their infant’s needs establish a sense for security.
It is a continual educational process through childhood, as well. To explain how attachment styles affect love relationships, the reasoning behind the attachment styles must be examined. According to Harvey & Byrd (2000), Hazen and Shaver’s study in 1994 found that interactions early in life determined whether people will have a secure, avoidant, or anxious attachment style. The anxious attachment style, rarest among infants studied, is a result of inconsistent parenting styles. In the study, the inconsistent parenting style caused infants to cling anxiously to their mothers in unfamiliar settings, and cry when she left the room.
Bowlby shared the psychoanalytic view that early experiences in childhood have an important influence on development and behavior later in life. Our early attachment styles are established in childhood through the infant/caregiver relationship. In addition to this, Bowlby believed that attachment had an evolutionary component; it aids in survival. "The propensity to make strong emotional bonds to particular individuals [is] a basic component of human nature" (Bowlby, http://0.tqn.com/d/psychology/1/0/-/4/attachment2.jpghttp://0.tqn.com/d/psychology/1/0/-/4/attachment2.jpg 1988, 3). Characteristics of Attachment Bowlby believed that there are four distinguishing characteristics of attachment: 1.
These relationships during childhood are likely to play an important part on how individuals develop through childhood and later life. Bowlby is a key figure in development of the of attachment theory. His theory suggests that the infant needs a secure base to explore from and return to. He defined a secure base as being a place where the infant can explore into the outside world and return to knowing that the mother figure will respond to the infant’s need for food, comfort and reassurance if distressed or fearful (Wood et. al., 2007).
In this paper Bowlby's theory of attachment and child care will be outlined along with additions from other theorists such as Rutter and Ainsworth. From this we will see how the evolution of the family unit since 1950s has been affected by such theories along with welfare policy and social theorists which have influenced family life and child care practices in the UK. Bowlby described attachment as the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver. It is characterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants' needs and emotional development. Bowlby noted the apparent distress in children separated from their mothers in unusual circumstances e.g.
When the care-giver responds with sensitivity and with a fast reaction, the child will form a sense of trust and security. This bond is formed in the first year of life because this is when an infant needs to be nurtured to ensure that they have a “secure base.” (Ainsworth 1969) It is important to have this foundation as it will help the child’s relationships in the future. By having a secure attachment to the care-giver, which does not necessarily have to be the child’s biological mother, they now have an experience of social and emotional behaviour of which they can use in future relationships or to use towards others. He/she also now has a “stable work model” (MCSA Module, 2013) to know how to work of deal with and to know for regards to themselves. This will also insure independency later in life.
This mother-infant attachment bond shapes a child’s brain, greatly influencing a person’s self-esteem, expectations of others, and ability to attract and maintain successful adult relationships. By learning about maternal – infant bonding and mother – child attachment, you can build healthier, attuned relationships, and communicate more effectively. The emotional attachment that grew between infants and their mother’s are the first interactive relationship of a person’s life, and it is based upon non-verbal communications and preverbal memories which are firmly imprinted on young infant’s psyches. The bonding experienced decides how a person would relate to other people throughout his/her