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A.H. - U.A.E. said:
Attachment can be defined as an emotional bond that develops between two people, e.g. between an infant and a parent/care-giver. A close relationship is formed with a person to give the child a sense of security. Although feelings of distress can occur when the child and the care-giver are being separated, great enjoyment takes its place when they are together. [1] This solid bond determines how a child develops emotionally and socially. The child?s security and trust is a response to a parent?s availability and reliability or readiness to respond to the child?s needs. Bretherton and Waters (1985) found that when a child has a stable relationship with the primary care-giver, he will most likely develop a healthy self-esteem. [2] Attachments are formed throughout our lives, but scientists are more interested in the bond formed between a mother or a primary carer and the infant. Schaffer and Emerson (1964) conducted a study with 60 Scottish babies from birth to 18 months, observing and recording biological mothers? interaction with their babies. They primarily focused on the findings of a child?s reaction when separated from the care-giver. They concluded that the attachment between a primary care-giver and an infant develops over a period of time, which they then later grouped into 4 stages of development. Attachment behaviour changes as the child ages. From birth to about 2 months (Asocial Stage) an infant can respond to people?s faces and their voices. However, they do not form a bond yet with such a person. Even although they can recognise the carer, a child will also welcome attention from a stranger. The Indiscriminate stage develops between 2 and 7 months. Infants are now able to identify when a carer is familiar and when not. This is also the stage when a child becomes more sociable and will enjoy comfort from unfamiliar persons. Around 7/8 months (Specific attachment stage) an infant will show a strong preference towards a specific care-giver and will become very aware of unwelcome attention of strangers. The last stage, Multiple attachment stage, children may form attachments with more than one person. Although these 4 stages were identified by Schaffer and Emerson (1964), psychologists are now of the opinion that one cannot assume a stage as fixed as children are developing individually. [3] John Bowlby (1969) stated in his attachment theory that a close relationship with one of the parents will have a great influence on the child?s development. He continues to explain that the first five years of a child?s life is the most important development phase. Bowlby claims that the relationship with the mother plays a major role in the child?s overall development and that separation can cause psychological damage. This may have a long term affect on the personality development of the child. He reasons that the period between 6 months and 3 years is the foundation of a healthy bond between infant and mother. [4] Mary Ainsworth (1981) conducted studies around a theory named ?sensitive responsiveness?. She wanted to determine whether it made a difference in a child?s development if the mother showed sensitivity towards the child?s immediate needs. Her studies found that mothers who showed less attentiveness towards their babies produced an insecure bond with their young ones, than those mothers who were sensitive towards their infant?s physical and emotional needs. [5] Therefore, attachment can only be defined as a two-way, active, enduring and emotional bond between an infant and a primary care-giver which develops over a period of time. [6] BIBLIOGRAPHY [1] Angles on child psychology, Matt Jarvis, page 22 [2] From birth to five years, Mary Sheridan, page 87 [3] Angles on child psychology, Matt Jarvis, page 22 ? 23 [4] Child Development, Carolyn Meggitt, page 164 [5] Angles on child psychology, Matt Jarvis, page 31 [6] Child Development, Carolyn Meggitt, page 164