The concept behind attachment theory is that a child needs to develop a strong bond with at least one primary caregiver. John Bowlby first formulated the attachment theory in the 1960s, concentrating on the mother-child bond. Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Cherry, n.d. p. 3). The theory established that bonding is required for a baby’s social and emotional development to be successful. This essay analyses the mother-child attachment and its impact on infant development.
Mother-child Attachment Before and After Birth
Mother-child attachment refers to a collection of internal behaviors that enable an infant to develop a strong bond with the primary caregiver. Attachment is thought to begin when the mother discovers she is pregnant. The bond that mothers have with their unborn children assists in the transition to motherhood. Bonding is the connection that mothers develop with their newborns shortly after birth. It is a supportive emotional attachment that entices the interest to engage in satisfying interactions and initiates lactation.
Fathers with firmly attached infants have a higher level of participation in caring for the child. Infants safely attached to their fathers show action that reflects confidence, solace, and heartfelt availability (Cabrera, 2019). Fathers experience more hormonal shifts as a result of being close to the infant. Even if the father works full-time, the baby will form a deep attachment to him if he spends enough time with the child when at home.
Promotion of Secure Attachments
Having a single primary, consistent caregiver for the baby’s first six months is one way parents can promote secure attachment with their young children. Whoever gives reliable and affectionate treatment to the baby has an equal chance of developing a strong bond. Providing only one caregiver is preferable to having many different people taking the role because it is easier for the child to connect with only one person. By keeping synchronized eating, sleeping, and stimulation routines, particularly during the first few months of a baby’s life, parents place the child on a fixed schedule, promoting the bonding.
Lasting Emotional and Behavioral Impact of Early Attachment
A child’s self-image increases if they receive attention from their caregivers. Positive self-worth is critical not just for the child’s interpersonal relationships but also for their trust when they learn about the world. They will continue to transfer the attachment pattern they developed as children to social environments and peer groups during their teenage years. According to Rathus (2020), prospective memory gained during early attachment is essential in executing a future act, as at a particular time or when a specific event happens. Children who experienced a stable bond develop high self-esteem. They can form strong relationships, have suitable coping mechanisms, and better behavior flexibility.
Secure attachment is vital during a child’s early years of development. Children who are firmly attached as babies tend to develop more robust self-reliance and better self-image as they grow older. The strong bond allows the child to develop a fundamental sense of confidence in the world and the ability to regulate behavior. The sense of security encourages the children to break away from the attachment figure and explore their surroundings.
Cabrera, N. J. (2019). Father involvement, father-child relationship, and attachment in the early years. Attachment & Human Development, 22(1), 134-138. Web.
Cherry, K. (n.d.). How attachment theory works. Verywell Mind. Web.
Rathus, S. A. (2020). PSYCH introductory psychology (6th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.