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Infant's Attachments

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Introduction

Infant's Attachments Elizabeth Sandoval Psychology 205 DE J. Newell March 25, 2006 An infant's attachment to his or her mother or primary caregiver can not be overlooked; it is so significant to the child's social and emotional life in the future. Not only is it significant in terms of personality development but it can make or break a child as early as preschool. Many children are not bullies, class clowns or misbehave just for fun but because they have low self-esteem or simply don't know how to act because of an insecure attachment growing up. However an infant is not doomed for life there are things a mother or caregiver can do to make the child more likely to develop a secure attachment. By looking at the attachment theory, definitions of different attachments, their outcomes and ways to create a secure attachment it is easier to become a better parent and/or to understand way children act the way they do. According to the attachment theory infancy is a very significant time in terms of personality development. "Bowlby defines an attachment as an enduring emotional bond characterized by a tendency to seek and maintain closeness to a specific figure, particularly during stressful situations. Attachment theory states that a child's first relationship is a love relationship that will have profound long-lasting effects on an individual's subsequent development. Closeness to the attachment figure provides protection and a psychological sense of security. Attachments should lay a good foundation for being able to form other secure relationships, to seek support when needed, and to draw strengths from the support which is given. A caregiver who is reliably available and responsive to a baby's needs forms the basis for secure attachment, for competence in exploring the environment and forming other relationships, and for developing self-esteem. Within attachment theory, 'representational models' play a significant role. These unconscious structures are mental representations of the self and others, based on early experiences in first relationships. ...read more.

Middle

Research as soon that early attachments are more powerful than attachments later in life; it is why it's so important for an infant to be cared for properly from day one. "Children who start out with secure attachments in infancy and toddler hood rebound more quickly if they have a rough life situation later on. But if infants and toddlers have lived in dysfunctional, rejecting, unloving, indifferent, or hostile environments, then healing later on is much more problematic. Each attachment provides the infant, toddler, and young child with templates for later relationships. The cold bully in the classroom has been shown to be the child whose parent did not enjoy bodily cuddling and got quite irritated easily with the baby. The victim in the preschool classroom is often the child whose mom, when he was a baby, was quite inconsistent in handling. She may have smooched the baby and paid attention to him, but only when she felt like it. This narcissistic parenting style results in the baby's inability to trust in consistent, loving, and personally empathic care" (Honig). In other words a child with a secure attachment during infancy can overcome hardships better later in life than those with an insecure attachment. Furthermore, attachments can sometimes predict how a child will at in school and who he or she will be later in life. Through research we now know that there are many different positive outcomes for securely attached children. "Children with secure attachments have more basic trust than those who are anxiously attached. They have more ego resiliency through early and middle childhood, unless they experience significant negative changes. They can also cope with setbacks, and recover more quickly. Securely attached children have more flexibility in processing current information and in responding appropriately in new situations and relationships" (Colin). "...Infants who experience the trust and compassion of a secure attachment...develop into preschool children who interact confidently and successfully with their peers" (Kail). ...read more.

Conclusion

This subject is so important to me because I am a new mother and I want to be sure to do the best job I can in raising him. My son is eight months old and as I read this chapter I kept wondering if he does indeed have a secure attachment to me. I take all my classes online and don't work so I can be with him as much as possible but I never realized how much of an impact I have on his life at such an early age. I learned so much reading this chapter and researching for this paper. I now understand how important the way I look at and talk to him is and that it can result in a different type of social life. I talk to my son a lot more now and with a happier voice. I also play with him more often and make sure his diaper is always clean. Another change I've made is always holding him while he eats and reading him a book every morning. I am trying very hard to help him create a secure attachment so that he can grow up to be more confident, happy and have a wonderful social life. Life is hard as it is and I don't want to do anything to give him a disadvantage. Furthermore, I now truly understand and appreciate the way my mother raised me. She was a stay at home mom and spent a lot of time with me and my three younger brothers. She always made me feel important, beautiful and smart. We played games, read books, went for walks and talked all the time. I never really realized how much of an impact she made in my life until I really started studying this subject. I'm so glad I had to write this paper because I really believe it has let me become a better mother and be thankful for my own mother a lot more. ...read more.

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