Attachment theory refers to deep emotional and long lasting bonds that connect one person to the other over time and space. It is non reciprocal and it means that a person can be attached to the other not necessarily on mutual basis. Additionally, attachment can be characterized by some behaviors in children.
Children often seek proximity with their attachment figures whenever they feel upset or threatened (Ein-Dor et al, 2011). It is therefore critical to judge the significance of relationship between children and their mothers when it comes to cognitive, emotional and social development.
There is an existing link between separations of infants with their mums and their maladjustments later on in life. It is a fact that has significantly contributed to the creation of the theory of attachment. This paper therefore focuses on attachment theory as well as its significance in development of children.
Attachment theory and its significance in children development
Children experience a lot of distress when separated from their mothers according to attachment theory. In a nutshell, children are attached to their mothers because they feed them. Even so, there are instances where nanny’s feed the children and it did not reduce their anxiety (Baby Center LLC, 2013). The theory is also relevant in terms of long term psychological relationships amongst humans.
Attachments are seen within evolution context where nannies provide safety and security to children. Affection in such a case is adaptive based on the fact that it enhances an infant’s chance of survival. Babies like grownups have needs that are directed at seeking proximity with their closest caregivers especially when they are anxious and whenever they feel threatened.
Different research studies also show that attachment grows through different stages. According to this theory, babies show anxiety separation when left by caregivers. Their attachment to the nannies develops following certain sequences. Therefore, when babies are of 0-3 months, they usually display indiscriminate attachments. In this relevance, newborns are predisposed to different forms of affection to any human being (Gillath et al, 2010).
Additionally, response of many babies is same to all nannies. An infant becomes quite selective at the age of four months and prefers only specific people. Infants also learn to distinguish between primary and secondary caregivers and they accept care from almost everyone.
At 7months, a child would prefer a single attachment figure. This means that children look for specific persons for security, comfort and protection. At the age of 7months, children also begin to demonstrate fear towards strangers and feel unhappy whenever they are separated from the people who are special to them.
There are infants who show fear of strangers and separation anxiety more frequently and intensely compared to others (Ein-Dor et al, 2011). After 9months of age, kids normally demonstrate different forms of attachment. Additionally, they more independent and show different types of affection.
Infants on the other hand often have attachments with the people who respond well to their signals. They do not get attached to the people whom they spend of the time together. However, the most crucial factor in creation of an attachment bond is not based on the people who feed or change diapers for the infant, but the person plays or speaks with him or her.
Responsive caregivers at initial stages of life bond with children easily. In the company of such caregivers, children manage stress easily and in a stronger manner. They are also in a better position to create healthy relationships compared to children who are under the care of non-responsive nannies (Baby Center LLC, 2013). Additionally, the performance of such kids in schools is better and they enjoy greater self-worth.
The children also have a greater ability to enjoy a balanced and fulfilling life. The theory of attachment is therefore very significant in a child’s development as they create affection naturally towards primary caregivers. Babies with good attachments are healthy and secure as they understand that their parents or caregivers are their solid bases and source of comfort. This enables children to explore and play comfortably, a fact that is very crucial for their development.
The theory is also very significant in emotional bond development at early stages of infancy. Kids who are securely attached have a high tendency of developing stronger self-esteem when they grow up. They also display ability to develop good or better self-reliance as they grow up. Additionally, the children have a high tendency of independence and perform well in school (Ein-Dor et al, 2011).
Children therefore have secure and great attachments to their nannies and build stronger relationships later on in life. They are also less likely to experience depression and anxiety. Secure attachments are accompanied by distress that kids experience when separated from their nannies. Additionally, they feel joyful upon the return of their caregivers. They also feel secure and with ability to depend on important adults around them.
If kids who are securely attached feel frightened, they often seek comfort from caregivers. They understand that their caregivers or parents provide comfort and reassurance at all times. They are also comfortable when they run to them in times of need. Normally, when parents leave, children also become extremely distressed (Gillath et al, 2010).
This research study has revealed that if children fail to build secure attachments at an early stage of life, they may be negatively affected in terms of behavior later in childhood, teenage and in adulthood. The theory of attachment is therefore very crucial especially in custody of children when disputes arise. This is because the evaluation of custody largely depends on the level of connection that parents have with their kids.
The theory has also been very useful in the sense that it influences parenting programs and interventions for families that are at risk. Different research studies also demonstrate the association between peer affiliations and early attachment classifications as to both quantity and quality.
Predictions are known to be stronger for close relationships compared to less intimate relationships (Baby Center LLC, 2013). Secure kids have less negative and more positive peer reactions. Additionally, they create better friendships compared to insecure kids. As a matter of fact, kids with insecure attachments are more followers than leaders.
Behavioral problems and social competence in insecure kids decrease or increase based on improvement or deterioration in the quality of parenting as well as the risk level in the family environment.
The attachment theory involves deep and enduring emotional bonds connecting an individual to the other over space and time. It is a theory that is extremely significant in provision of knowledge in relevance to child development, more specifically, in early infancy. Infants seek proximity and attachment with close figures whenever they feel upset or threatened.
A close link exists between the separation of mothers with their children and maladjustments later on in life. This is a fact that has contributed significantly to the creation of the theory of attachment. According to the theory, kids feel distressed when separated from their mums. They also feel more attached to their mums more than any other caregiver. This is because they were fed by their mothers.
What’s more, infants also create strong emotional bonds with their nannies or caregivers because they provide safety and security to them. Research as therefore demonstrated that attachment grows through different stages. Infants show separation anxieties when left by their caregivers.
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Baby Center LLC (2013). Attachment: Why it’s crucial for your baby. Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/0_attachment-why-its-crucial-for-your-baby_10349909.bc on 20/11/2013
Ein-Dor, T. et al (2011). Attachment insecurities and the processing of threat-related information. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101(1), 78-93.
Gillath, O. et al (2010). Attachment, authenticity, and honesty. Journal of personality and social psychology, 98(5), 841-855.