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Does attachment theory provide a sound basis for advice on how to bring up children?

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Introduction

Mrs Tracey Goode: T6164966. Does attachment theory provide a sound basis for advice on how to bring up children? Essay Plan: Introduction 1. Explain what attachment is. 2. State what is going to be talked about in essay. Body: 1. Discuss Bowlby's attachment theory - maternal deprivation. 2. Explain Ainsworth theory 3. Critically analyse. 4. State implications on bring up children in relation to childcare, hospitalisation, and institutionalisation. Include Rutter. Conclusion. 1. Belsky 2. Summary. Attachment is a strong emotional bond that develops between infant and caregiver, providing the infant with emotional security. By the second half of the first year, infants become attached to familiar people who have responded to their need for physical care and stimulation. How this attachment's develops and whether attachment theory provides a sound basis for advice on how to raise children have been intense topics of theoretical debate. This essay will be looking in particular at John Bowlby's Attachment theory and the implications this has had on hospitalisation, institutionalisation and day-care in relation to raising children. In 1949, the World Health Organisation became concerned about the number of homeless children, or children who were growing up in institutions as a result of the war years. They commissioned Bowlby to look into this matter, and to report to them whether these children were likely to be suffering from their experiences, and what the best kind of upbringing for such children was. John Bowlby (1907 - 1990, as cited in Cowie, 1994) ...read more.

Middle

'During that time, he argued, the child needs continuous love and care.' (Cowie, 1994, page 6) He believed that children who experience maternal deprivation below the age of three would suffer permanent damage, emotionally and socially. Bowlby was inspired by Lorenze's (1952, as cited by Cowie, 1994) study of imprinting in baby geese. During pre - natal development, there are short periods when an individual is especially vulnerable. These times are called 'critical periods', and the effect is an imprint. Imprinting is an example of an instinct, an inherited behaviour pattern that predisposes an individual to certain forms of learning at critical times in development. Bowlby suggested that attachment behaviour is a kind of imprinting and is irreversible. However, in more recent studies of adopted children, Tizard (1977, as cited by Cowie, 1994) have found that older children can form satisfactory new relationships with adults despite the lack of earlier attachment. Another line of evidence comes from Harlow's work with rhesus monkeys (1959), an experiment was devised where a monkey was provided with two 'mothers', one a wire cylinder with a monkey - like face and a feeding bottle attached, the other with no feeding bottle but wrapped in a cloth. The position taken by behaviourists and Freudians would be that the monkeys should become attached to the 'mother' that offered food rather than comfort. In fact, the monkey's spent most of heir time with the cloth mother, visiting the other one only for food and when they were frightened they would always go to the cloth mother. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, when children are shy and unsociable, the nursery experience can be threatening which may have effects on their school career. Belsky and Steinberg (1978, as cited by Cowie, 1994) at first believed that child care disrupts the child's tie to its mother but then when further research was carried out, Belsky and Rovine (1988) found that there was an increased risk of an infant developing insecure attachments if they were in day care for at least 4 months and if this has begun before their first birthday. From this Belsky believed that the higher levels of insecure attachment might imply that the separations between working mothers and their young children lead the latter to doubt their mothers availability and responsiveness and to develop a coping style that masks their anger. However this sort of explanation is highly speculative and would be difficult to substantiate. By conducting investigations on Day care, hospitalisation and institutionalisation it has been discovered that quality of care, a stimulating environment and consistency is vital to ensure that children do not suffer from deprivation and later emotional maladjustment. This is obviously dependent on individual characteristics of the child and their home life and also different cultures. However a combination of these studies and Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis have made people aware of the importance of these aspects in raising children and has changed the way the particular institutions take care of children. Although time will tell if attachment theorists are right, their findings provide an excellent framework to motivate parents and other caregivers to provide highly sensitive and responsive care to children throughout the world, if only for the benefit of humankind. ...read more.

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