Attachment in Infancy

Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on attachment in infancy. (Bowlby, 1982). The main intend and objective of attachment is not entertaining or playing with the child as this may be involved in the role played as playmate, feeding of child as being their primary caregiver, set the boundaries for the child being a disciplinarian or teaching the child novel skills being a teacher. Essentially, attachment is the utilization of primary caregiver by the child as a secure base for exploring things and, when needed, as a comfort source and haven of protection (Waters & Cummings, 2000). Attachment is distinct from ‘bonding’. Since, it was a concept developed by Kennell and Klaus who entailed that child-parent bonding depended upon the skin-to-skin contact of the child and primary caregiver during an initial critical period (Kennell & Klaus, 1976). This perception of ‘bonding’ was established to be flawed and to have no linkage with atachment. But unluckily, many non-professionals as well as professional still employ the term interchangeably. As a description of secure attachment, professionals often portray the example of an infant being breast fed by his or her mother thus erroneously implying that breastfeeding intrinsically encourages secure attachment. While others portray a secure attachment as a child playing with his or her parents playing as a secure attachment, though these examples portray the parents’ roles as caregiver and playmate and not as a secure base. It might be considered that the need of distinction between bonding and attachment is essential since bonding does not lead to the behavioral development of a child while attachment is an influential predictor of the later emotional and social behavior of the child (Kennel & Klaus, 1976). Now since the distinction has been made between the different roles of a caregiver, the types of attachment are now to be explored. Attachment Types and their background The parent-infant attachment can be divided into four types listed below. 1. Secure attachment 2. Insecure-resistant 1. Insecure-avoidant 2. Insecure-disorganized. Amongst these, the first three are organized types while the last one is disorganized type. The worth of attachment developed by an infant with a particular caregiver is mainly determined by the way the caregiver responds to an infant when his her attachment system is activated (such as when the feelings of security and safety of an infant are threatened, for instance, when an infant is physically hurt, ill or emotionally distressed specially frightened. Starting at around the age of six months, infants start to anticipate the particular caregivers responses to their suffering therefore they start shaping their own behavior such as forming strategies to cope with their distress in front of that particular caregiver on the basis of their interactions with that particular caregivers in daily basis (Ainsworth et al., 1978) Three main forms of reactions to distress have been discovered in infants, which are considered to be the cause of three particular patterns of organized attachment. The caregivers who are consistent in responding towards distress in a loving or sensitive ways, like picking up the baby instantly and comforting the infant, their infants feel safe and consider that they can freely show negative emotions which will evoke the reassuring from their caregiver (9).

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