Attachment Theory and Parenting


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Attachment Theory and Parenting

  1. 1. Attachment Еmilia Kardzhilova
  2. 2. Internal working models • Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). • Attachment does not have to be reciprocal. One person may have an attachment with an individual which is not shared. Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969).
  3. 3. The theory of attachment postulates that children develop strong emotional connection and bond to the person who cares after the child during the first year of life • Those ties/bond are of exclusive importance for the normal child’s social and emotional development and wellbeing. A child need to feel proximity, warmth and constant bond to the mother or another person who provides care in order he/she to develop its functions. Mothers of secure attached children show high score in scales for sensitivity, acceptance, cooperation and emotional availability. As a result the child develops high autonomy, cognitive plasticity, emotional sharing, problem solving skills and continuity.
  4. 4. Here is the ‘father’ of Attachment theory – John Bowlby. In a series of papers in early 60s of last century he disproves the idea of psychoanalysis that that only libidinal and physiological needs of the child attach it to the mother.
  5. 5. Secure base • In 60s of the last century Mary Ainsworth observes and asses child’s behavior elements to discover that responsive, acceptive mothers represent ‘secure base’ for their children. Newborn needs to know that the main figure that provides constant care is stable and reliable. Starting from this feeling & knowledge child is able to discover the external environment in an open and free manner. The lack of the constant figure of caregiver makes him/her instable and there is not desire for discovering behavior at all. Ainswort h defines the attachment as secure and insecure and classifies 3 types of attachment: • - Secure attachment style • - Anxious – Avoidant style • - Ambivalent style • Further research by Mary Main and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeleyidentified a fourth attachment pattern, called disorganized/disoriented attachment. The name reflects these children's lack of a coherent coping strategy
  6. 6. Mary Ainsworth, developmental psychologist
  7. 7. “Strange situation" • Merry Ainsworth manages to define styles of attachment by creating a method for observation of toddlers in a laboratory setting – Strange situation that asses 4 main elements of child’s behavior: • - Anxiety of separation – anxiety that a child shows normally when the mother leaves the room. • - Readiness to explore close environment - freedom to explore. • - Anxiety towards strangers – child’s behavior when a child is in presence of stranger and his attitude toward the stranger. • - Reunion – the way that the child greets the mother upon her return. • It is about a procedure of „directed“ short-time separations of a child and the mother and allows identification of individual differences with toddlers . It shows different strategies to cope with the stress of the separation. • Demonstrate
  8. 8. Attachment and adults • After Mary Ainsworth developed a method by which to measure the style of attachment in infancy, research increased significantly. A model of attachment in adulthood has been developed, according to which again we have 4 styles (Bartholomew and Horowitz, 1991). Today , most researchers measure individual differences in adult attachment dimensionally by two lines that apply: avoidance - anxiety brought from Ainsworth, and in terms of styles, retaining the classification of Bartholomew and Horowitz .
  9. 9. Attachment Theory Four Category Model
  10. 10. Attachment styles
  11. 11. 7NtNI
  12. 12. Parenthood and attachement Parenthood has key influence to the attachment style. According to the researches up to date mothers of securely attached children are responsive to the needs of the children and its signals. Mothers of insecurely attached children show contradictory behavior towards the needs of the child and often refuse child’s signals. Thus creating feeling of insecurity. In any case some type of attachment is formed but there arer cases when there is total lack of parental care. When there is event which diminish emotional availability of the parent to the child, the attachment style could be transformed from secure to insecure because the parenthood and its context change significantly over the time. Parental warmth and responsiveness are not the only determinant of secure attachment style but significantly increase it as possibility.
  13. 13. Mother of securely attached children show high scores in scales sensitiveness, acceptance, cooperation and emotional availability As a result a child develops autonomy, emotional sharing, cognitive plasticity , problem resolving skills and continuity
  14. 14. “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ~Albert Einstein~ 7.
  15. 15. Parenthood • Parenting has a key influence on the attachment. According to existing studies mothers of securely attached children are responsive to the needs and signals of the child, and mothers of children with insecure attachment contradictory behavior in response to the needs of the child and reject its signals. Thus building a sense of security or insecurity. With the exception of cases where the person has a total lack of parental care, it is formed certain affection and attachment.
  16. 16. Parenting styles Researchers in the field of developmental psychology displayed four basic parenting styles. Authoritarian, authoritative, uninvolved and permissive. Each of these styles has its characteristics in different ways of influence on the formation and construction of each individual child! Which styles do you think have the most favorable influence?
  17. 17. Authoritarian parents tend to control, monitor and evaluate the behavior of their children; they have high demands for maturity of the child, they do not tolerate inappropriate behavior and insist on completing obedience. A tribute is passive behaviors such as obedience and discipline and tend to limit autonomy of the child. Parents often use threats and punishments. To a small extent they are responsive and do not explain the reasons for imposing specific rules and requirements. Children raised by authoritarian parents often exhibit unwanted and problematic behavior in different social situations. Children become conformal, executive their independence and initiative are missing; Children have low self-esteem, are insecure, difficult, they are afraid to take responsibility, lack of decisions making skills, cooperation and show low social competence, i.e. have problems in adaptability and assertiveness.
  18. 18. Allowing parents are less controlled and highly responsive and dedicated. Often do not control the behavior of the child and leave him/her alone to regulate his/her own actions. Avoid the use of punishment and see themselves as a resource the child to survive, not as responsible for the formation and change of the child's behavior. Allowing style is described by high levels of care and clarity in communication and low levels of control and maturity requirements. Children of allowing parents face difficulties in communicating and adaptation, have low self-control and lack of confidence in themselves. They are more impulsive than children of authoritative and authoritarian parents and are more likely to display deviant behavior, as well as alcohol and drugs dependency. These children have never learnt to control their own behavior and always expect what they say and they want .
  19. 19. Uninvolved parents • Are emotionally not interested and separated from the child and have no expectations of him/her. They take care of what the vital and urgent needs are of the child, but do not commit to anything more. When communicating with the child parents often show little concern and are not interested in the problems. Typical patterns are coldness, disapproval and rejection. • A parent does not show feelings of love, concern, interest, often suppresses child, evokes feelings of detachment, emotional coldness and rejection, indifference to the child. This behavior provokes with the child low self-esteem and self-control, high aggression, behavior inconsistent, contradictory behavior. • Later on when children grow up become uncommunicative and reclusive, difficult to socialize and fit in society.
  20. 20. • Authoritative parenting style is a happy midline between the two extremes - authoritarianism and permissiveness. Authoritative parents encourage children's development in a rational and purposeful way. When communicating with the child always explain the reasons for certain actions and imposed rules. Authoritative style is characterized by high levels of supervision and care by parents , clarity communication and mature requirements. These parents are both demanding and responsive, encourage dialogue and communicate freely with the child. Children of authoritative parents are significantly more competent, more oriented towards success and adaptable in school settings than other children. Children demonstrate skills in the implementation of social interactions, are independent and are independent in solving problems, show emotional well-being and psychological adjustment and low risk of delinquency.
  21. 21. The separation is the main topic of work • Children living deprived of parental care have insecure attachment style. In the next sessions we will talk how to cope with difficult children with insecure attachment. • Thank you! "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~Frederick Douglass~