Attachment is the emotional bond between the child and the primary caregiver and begins while the child is in the womb and throughout the life of the child. Attachment creates a sense of security for the child and provides a “safe base” for the child to build effective and lasting relationships. However, what are the implications of broken attachment bonds between a child and the primary caregiver, and how important is this in the development of the child? This essay will focus on explaining the attachment theory through affectional bonds with parents, attachment behaviours and the internal working models of attachment. This will allow me to conclude why it is important to secure attachments in later life.
In terms of affectional bonds and attachments, Bowlby and Ainsworth (1989) wrote that the mutual pattern of responding is key to the development of these bonds. So by interacting with the child, pre and post birth, by talking and playing will ultimately begin this attachment process. Not only this, a parent picking up a child when he or she is upset creates a sense of security for the child that will make the attachment bond stronger. Moreover, there is a certain kind od security that an adult draws from being in such a relationship where they can rely on a partner for support and this models the safe base function that comes with a child’s attachment bond.
According to Bowlby, Once an attachment to another person is established, the child begins to construct mental representations of the relationship that becomes a set of expectations that the child has for future interactions. The term was coined the internal working model to describe this mental representation. The working model is formed in late in the first year of a child’s life and increases over the first four of fiver years (Schermerhorn, Cumming, Davies, 2008). This model does affect the child’s behaviour because the child tends to recreate, in each new relationship, the pattern in which its familiar.
So why is it important to secure attachments later on in life? In a study conducted by Rutter et al (1989) in the Romanian orphanages to find whether it was separation from the mother or the severe circumstances in the orphanages that was responsible for negative effects. These children has never been picked up, interacted with and had little opportunity to develop attachments. It was concluded that an intervention should take place within six months and that any longer could delay the child’s development.
Therefore, I can conclude that attachment is a bond between a child and a primary caregiver and this provides a child with a sense of security and trust. The more parents interact with their child, the stronger the bond will get . However, it is important to secure an attachment for the child in later life because their development could be delayed and cause maternal deprivation.