Attachment Theory Attachment Theory Attachment or bonding is the developing relationship established between a primary caregiver, usually the mother, and her child. Attachment behaviors begin early in life. This narrow age limit is often called the critical period. This trusting relationship developed in infancy forms the foundation for a child’s development. If a child has a secure attachment, he will grow up to view the world as a safe place and will be able to develop other emotions.
It has become more and more apparent that a healthy attachment is most important in human development. Why do some children survive and even rebound in the face of adversity? Some children are able to adapt and rebound and develop the resources they need to cope. The basic foundations of a child’s personality are formed in their early attachment to an adult caregiver. It allows the child to develop trust in others and a reliance on himself. Unless properly treated, unattached children grow up with pain and anger often vented on society.
The major threat to attachment is separation. Some families do not have the strength to cope with chronic stress and repeated crises. Probably the single most important factor is the establishment of a secure attachment to the primary caregiver. The secure attachment is favored by a secure, relaxed, supported mother. Family conflict, violence and family breakdown that leads to poverty, threatens healthy child development.
A caring parent with reasonable expectations is most likely to help the child develop the optimistic perspective and coping skills they need. Infants seem to rely on their caretakers long before they can indicate attachment with crying. In some hospitals, babies are scheduled to receive regular holdings and cuddling by staff members. Infants who do not receive contact comfort in infancy do not thrive and may not even survive. If the infant’s physical and environmental needs are met sufficiently, the infant develops the ability to trust others and the environment.
However, if the infant has not learned through attachment, he will carry this with him through life. Interventions are aimed at enhancing the adaptive capabilities and to strengthen coping skills within the client’s family. Babies let their needs be known by cooing, babbling, gurgling, facial expressions and body movements. Coping with a child’s demands can be exhausting to any parent, but they can help the child develop trust by paying close attention to what the infant needs. Attachment theory is important in social work.
Social workers are a major provider of treatment. As a mother to an infant, a therapist who is available to their clients, and shows empathy, will provide a positive relationship. Clients are less prone to fear. There is a parallel between being a parent and a professional social worker. Like a parent, social workers do not have to be perfect, but they need to be sensitive to their client’s needs.
They have interdisciplinary relationships with other mental health professionals. They must be aware of the principals involved in attachment theory. Knowledge and skills related to this field of service are needed to better help the children with this disorder. Culture shapes the cycle of development or growth of the members of a family. This becomes especially important when moving from one culture group to another. Each group shares patterns of social and personal relationships. There is a heavy burden put upon some minority groups in the development of resources. Attachment is easily recognized across the world.
We are all part of a nurturing system, the immediate family. It is important for social workers to understand culture differences when developing approaches to dealing with attachment disorders. Some may stress the development of independence and autonomy, while others identify a greater emphasis on maintaining relationships. By the first year of a child’s life, they are supposed to become attached to certain people who have responded to their needs for physical care. Intimate relationships formed during infancy give rise to continuing relationships and individual development. This is an important stage necessary for coping.
According to Bowley and Ainsworth, experts in the field of attention disorder, the love between a mother and an infant is the result of an attachment formed during that first year. This is the basis for all close relationships. Attachment problems occur when there is an absence or disruption in the relationship in the early years. To bond with the mother or primary caretaker must be consistent. The mother can still work and take her child to day care. The child will bond with a number of individuals as long as they are secure and nurturing.
Attachment theory affects social attachment and emotional development even though it doesn’t always show up until later in the infant’s life. In the first month of life, infants will cry to communicate pain, hunger or loneliness. When the caretaker responds, the infant attaches and develops physically normally. The baby will respond to language by laughing, crying and smiling. Infants must attach or they will have difficulty with language development. They will not use words to express their needs. Emotional development is also affected by attachment. A child will not learn to share or play with other children.
An infant needs to learn how to play in order for them to explore for learning. When they get no response, they will eventually stop responding like attached infants. They will fear strangers. Unattached infants will react to stressors by spitting up or sucking their thumbs. They often react to stress with eating and bowel problems. Secure individuals who have adequate bonding with their caregivers as an infant, will grow up to have more positive self-concepts and will believe that most other people are good natured and well- intentioned. They will see their relationships as trusting and satisfying.
They will be more satisfied in their jobs. Unattached individuals will make less money, as they will work more for the approval and recognition than the money. Secure infants grow up to have healthy relationships later in life. They are not bothered by the breakup of a relationship. They will have less feelings of jealousy. The ultimate goal of a healthy person is to be able to love …