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

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Pg 1 of 7 Gail Adams T.M.A 03 U7740974 Does attachment theory provide a sound basis for advice on how to bring up children? One crucial concept of bringing up children is attachment. British psychologist John Bowlby (1907-90) developed the attachment theory and argued that a basic characteristic of human need was to form strong emotional bonds with particular individuals, deprivation of secure attachments through separation, bereavement or emotional distance he believed caused disruption to a child's development. Mary Ainsworth(1985) a student of Bowlby extended upon his theories focusing on the nature and quality of attachment relationships between infant and primary caregiver. There have been many critiques to Bowlbys attachment theory and all will be examined in order to answer the question. The attachment theory will be looked at in respect to its practical implications for child rearing in the context of both family members and day care facilities. Evidence from research has provided information about factors which form the foundations of secure and insecure attachments these have implications for different types of child care. Very early, children develop internal working models, internalised ideas about the nature of their relationships with primary caregivers, they base these on former interactions and experiences (Bowlby,1969). ...read more.


Erickson et al.(1985) found that infants who are judged insecurely attached at twelve months are at greater risk of developing behavioural difficulties affecting the quality of their relationships later on. This can be especially true in situations where the parent is distressed. According to Rutter (1981), the events accompanying the cases of family breakdown, like stress, family discord, emotional neglect, lack of positive relationships with others and the more generally understood deprivation of institutional experiences are the more likely causes of delinquency attributed to early experiences. Therefore these factors, rather than disrupted mother-infant attachment on its own, were more likely to be blamed. There are many significant others who might play a role in the child rearing. A study on grandparents recognised them as being an invaluable influence on a child's development Melhuish et al (1990). Grandparents can strengthen the attachment between parent and child. They also feel close bomnds with the child because they are related and usually have the child's best interest at heart. An exclusive relationship can form between grandparents and their grand children, and in some cases, can be as strong as the mothers, especially in some cultures according to Hinde+Stevenson-Hinde, (1988). ...read more.


This type of relationship forms a secure base for internal working models and every child should have the opportunity to indulge in a close intimate relationship. Significant others can also provide such a relationship replicating a mothers love without jeopardising the attachment and research shows that deprivation of attachment from the mother at birth can be rectified in later years with other forms of child care providing accessibility, consistency and a loving sensitive response. Quality of alternative care is an important consideration and a variety of circumstances contribute to the attachment bonds being at risk or being broken. It is vital to consider attachment as an important factor when choosing any form of child care, as it is the opportunity for infants to secure relationships with those providing alternative care. This has implications for parents, staff and other forms of carers as it is important that positive relationships are established and appreciation for the contribution that they each make to the infants care and development is accredited. Many challenges have been made against the attachment theory but it still provides a sound basis to encourage parents, other caregivers and care facilities to accommodate sensitive and responsive care to children. Word count 2010 Pg 6 of 7 Gail Adams T.M. ...read more.

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