Attachment in infants

Posted: August 12th, 2013

Attachment in infants




Attachment in infants

Attachment between infants and their caregivers is created and nurtured through the social contacts and consistent care giving, which makes infants develop common positive emotions over a period of about two years. Infants who are attached to an adult use the caregiver as the secure reference point when they encounter difficulties such as crawling or eating. The response by the caregiver to these infant advances will determine the future attachment patterns, the later expectations in mature relationships and other forms of behavior.

Patterns of attachments in infants

            The secure attachment refers to the nonverbal bond that is expressed emotionally. This type of relationship is defined by emotional reactions to the baby’s cues that might be expressed in their sounds, gestures and movements. The achievement of this nonverbal relationship facilitates enough security in a child to trigger full development. It also affects how the child will cooperate, commune and create relationships throughout life. Avoidant attachment is a pattern that is mostly exhibited by children who were neglected in their earlier stages of life. Children with such attachment avoid their parents, show little inclination for strangers and parents, and when they grow up, they have difficulty in becoming intimate or sharing their feelings with others (Honig, 2002). Lastly, avoidant attachment patterns are characterized by high level of independence in a bid to avoid being attached to anyone. Such people feel they are able to fend for themselves and therefore, do not need to bond and depend on other people.

Factors that affect the development of attachment

            The opportunity to make a close contact with the infant is important for both parents are significant in building the right attachment. Most children end up different because of the absence of their parents during their infant stages. As a result, they cannot bond with their parents and cannot mimic the behavior of their parents. Although parents may be having other commitments such as work or school, they should create time to spend with their children. The level of warmth of the parents also determines the development of attachment as parents may be present, but unresponsive and ignorant of their babies. Other family circumstances also shape the development of attachment such as failing marriages, quarrelling and financial instability may interfere with the development of attachment.

Impact of attachment in childhood on subsequent development through the life span

The attachment between a child and the caregiver develops through unsystematic attachment. Children raised in orphanages, who do not experience this attachment, have the symptoms displayed later in life such as increasing separateness and isolation among men and women. People have grown to expect that they can demand the satisfaction of their emotional needs through objects and relationships with others. People have gotten used to meeting their attachment needs through romantic relationships. This has also led to addictions, escalating divorce rates, rampant consumerism, depression and suicide (Boyd, 2011).

In my opinion, attachment patterns established in infancy shape the psychological and social functioning of adults in the future. What one experiences as a child will either make them independent, strong and optimistic or dependent, weak and pessimistic. Children tend to build on their childhood experiences, and when they become older, they magnify any effect that their parents or caregivers had on them. If a child was unattended and mistreated, when they grow up, they tend to develop an avoidant attachment. These unmet needs are etched into the minds of the children and are expressed through projection onto their partners later in life. It is also important to appreciate the role that parents play in preparing children for their later life. Studying the attachment process will help explain the reasons why adults find it difficult to sustain adult intimate relationships.


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