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Discuss the influence of childhood on adult relationships

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Introduction

´╗┐Yana Garcia-Mander 13.0 h/w Discuss the influence of childhood on adult relationships. (24 Marks) Many attachment psychologists argue that early relationships with our primary caregivers provide the foundation for later adult relationships. Bowlby called this the continuity hypothesis. This is the claim that early relationship experiences continue in later adult relationships. According to the attachment theory, young children develop an 'internal working model' from their first relationship with their primary carer. This is then the basis on which they consider what is acceptable in future relationships and whether they are able to trust or rely other individuals (based on preconceptions from previous relationships). Young children also develop characteristic attachment styles in their early relationships which influence later relationships by providing the child with beliefs about themselves, other people and relationships in general. There are several attachment styles that a child can develop in infancy. ...read more.

Middle

They devised a ?love quiz? in a local newspaper, asking readers to describe their feelings and experiences about romantic relationships and their childhood relationships with parents. They found a strong correlation between childhood and adult relationship patterns: for example, insecure-avoidant types doubted the existence of love, feared closeness and found it hard to forgive; insecure-resistant types were intensely emotional, jealous and untrusting; and secure types believed in love, were very trusting and liked being close to others. However it is unlikely that our attachment types as children are fixed. Life events, such as divorce of parents or loss of a loved one, can cause a 'securely attached' child to become 'insecure', therefore it is unrealistic to say that our early relationships determine whether or not we have successful long-lasting relationships. Also, this is a very deterministic view. It suggests that we have no control over the effect our childhood has on our future and that we do not have free will. ...read more.

Conclusion

However gender differences have been found in childhood relationships. Research has shown that girls experience more intimate peer relations than boys, and often report feelings of care and security in their relationships with other girls. In contrast, boys? peer relationships are usually more competitive. Therefore, we cannot generalise about the effects of childhood peer interactions as experiences are often very different. Also, many studies of adolescent relationships have relied on small samples from once school or city, usually in the US. A major disadvantage of such samples is that it doesn?t adequately represent relationships in other areas and cultures. Therefore, it is difficult to generalise findings, especially to non-Western cultures. Overall there are many suggestions as to how childhood, (the effects of peer relationships and parent-child relationships,) can affect our future adult relationships, and although there is various evidence supporting this, it is too reductionist to suggest that childhood experiences is the only factor that impacts possible relationships, as there are others such as life events and environmental factors. 1. ...read more.

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