There are many debates that about
the idea of attachment between a child
and a caregiver. Sigmund Freud (1940) believed that children became
attached to those people who satisfied their needs, for example
hunger or thirst. Therefore, the child becomes attached to the
first person who nourishes them. Erik Erikson (1963) on the other
hand, believed that babies become attached to those people they
can trust to reliably fulfil their needs, making it an issue of
trust, not just physical comfort. John Bowlby (1969) believes
that children who are separated from their parents for a long
period of time or are orphaned, become psychologically troubled,
throw more tantrums, cry more often and go through periods of
depression and despair, finally becoming indifferent to others.
This indifference was termed "disattachment." As well,
see the link Separation
Anxiety in the "Problems Children and Teens Face"
Making Sure your child is Healthily Attached:
A parent may be asking themselves
- how do I make sure that my child is happily attached and will
grow up to be a healthy adult? Mary Ainsworth (1967) proposed
three categories or styles of attachment.
Secure attachment involves
a child being comfortable in their parent's presence, playing
well with other children and responding positively to strangers.
A securely attached child will become upset when the parent leaves
and will not be consoled from strangers, however they will be
easily calmed when the parent returns.
children are indifferent to their parent when in a room together.
They may or may not cry when the parent leaves the room. If they
are upset a stranger is as effective at comforting the child as
the parent would be. When the parent returns they may turn or
look away rather than seek their comfort.
children have trouble in strange situations in general. They stay
close to their parent and are anxious even when they are near.
When the parent leaves they become very upset and will actively
seek the parent when they return, but resist comfort when it is
Causes for Different types of Attachment:
Research on what leads to the different
types of attachment has focused on the following factors.
1. Parent Behaviour: Ainsworth and Bell (1969)
found that mothers who were more sensitive to their infants needs
and responded to them more quickly and accurately were more likely
to have children that were securely attached at one year of age.
2. The Child Behaviour: The response of the child
is also important in how the parent will act towards their child.
Mothers of infants who are temperamentally easy have an easier
time of responding to their infants needs and establishing a bond
than mothers with more difficult babies.
3. Family Influences: Stress on the parent has
also been seen to reduce a child's chances of becoming securely
attached. An important factor in this stress is money - children
living in poverty are less likely to show secure attachment.
& Prosocial Behaviour
of Children & Teens