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Discuss and Evaluate Research into the Importance of Early Childhood Attachment.

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Discuss and Evaluate Research into the Importance of Early Childhood Attachment John Bowlby (1907-90), who was one of the leading psychologists in childcare believes, when a baby is born it is important for it to form a close bond to someone to ensure its survival. The need for warmth safety and food are the first things any living being needs. Babies have an inbuilt ability to promote care from the people around them; according to Bowlby they do this by smiling, crying, gazing, grasping, clinging and babbling. He also believed that this is a two-way relationship, as the mother also has a need to feel close to her child. John Bowlby did a lot of work with children. He felt that it was important for the newborn baby to form an attachment to their mother or the main caregiver. If an attachment was not made he believed that this would lead to adverse effects in later life; the child could have problems developing educationally and socially, and so would have problems throughout its life in making friends and forming intimate relationships. Mary Ainsworth was another psychologist who believed it was important for a baby to make an attachment to its main caregiver. She defined attachment as 'an affectional tie or bond that an individual...forms between him self and another individual'. (Ainsworth) In the mid-1970's Marshall Klaus and John Kennel carried out an experiment with a group of new mothers. ...read more.


This seems to show that babies can form an attachment to several people at the same time. This study does not say however what the children were like in later life, i.e. if they developed well educationally or socially. Bowlby believed that the reason a child would develop anti-social behaviour may be related to the attachment it had made with its main carer. He did a study on forty-four patients at the north London clinic where he worked. All of the patients were emotionally disturbed and had been thieves. He noted that seventeen of them had been separated from their mothers for six months or more before they reached five years of age; this he felt was the reason for their anti-social behaviour. He also did a study on forty-four disturbed children in London; these children were not known to be thieves. Bowlby found that only two of the second group of children had been separated from their mothers. From this study Bowlby concluded that maternal deprivation contributes to delinquency. Bowlby seems to have overlooked several factors which may have had an effect on the child's life. For instance, if the child was never attached to it's mother it may not have been upset when she left it for six months. If the mother was removed because she was unfit it might not be the separation, which had caused the child to be a delinquent. He does not mention if the children were brought up in a specific area, which may have had bad influences on them. ...read more.


However the report does not say whether the twin boys from Czechoslovakia were ever in trouble with the police at any time after they had reached their teens. By the time Koluchova made his final report in 1991 the twins would have been thirty-one years old. The report does not mention if they had formed good relationships. According to the studies carried out by Bowlby, the deprivation which the twins had suffered would mean that they were unable to form close relationships in their adult life. These studies show that it is in important for a child to form an attachment to someone for the child to grow into a stable adult, but it is also important that the home in which the child lives is stable and happy. Several psychologists have worked in the field of child development and investigated the need for early attachment. Not all have come to the same conclusion; there are still lots of questions unanswered. Many of the early findings in the field of child development have now been disputed. The work done by Bowlby and many other psychologists have brought about important changes in the way we view childcare, for instance mothers or carers are now allowed to stay with their a sick child in hospitals. Families with difficulties are given support in their own home wherever possible. Bowlby claimed that 'a bad home is better than the best institution'; If a child must be removed from its home, it is placed with a foster family rather than in a children's homes if at all possible. Psychology 28-1-04 1 Carole Stanton ...read more.

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