Attachment Theory Essay

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Heidi Newsom Dr. Barta Developmental Educational Psychology 17 April 2011 Attachment Theory Humans beings of all ages seem to have a fundamental need to feel socially connected to, and loved and respected by, other people. In other words, they have a need for relatedness. ( Deci and Moller, 2005; Park, Crocker & Vohs, 2006). Across the life span, this need is fulfilled with social bonds of various types including friendships, romantic ties, marital partnerships and family relationships. 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. The infant knows that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to explore their surroundings. The characteristics involved with attachment theory are: a safe haven, secure base, proximity maintenance and separation distress. In the process of forming attachments, infants learn a lot about other people and themselves. For example, a baby slowly develops expectations about shared routines (“ When Grandma says,’ Peekaboo’, I hide my eyes and we both laugh”), beliefs about other people’s trustworthiness (“Mommy takes care of me”), emotional connections (“ I love my Daddy”), and a
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