Child and Caregiver

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Aundrea Camp
Ps 236 ON
December 16, 2018
Child and Caregiver Attachment
While growing and developing, children go through four different attachment stages. An
attachment can be defined as much more than an empty feeling or longing for someone or
something. During our lifetime we become attached to many different things, as well as other
human beings. The attachments that are the most important are between the parent and infant and
the ones formed between peers. The attachment that develops between an infant and parent also
known as the caregiver is important because it is the foundation that other attachment
relationships develop. This relationship is not just about being connected it’s about a continuance
of closeness through a physical and emotional bond. In “Essentials of Human Development: A
Life-Span View,” attachment is defined by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth as “enduring
socioemotional relationships between infants and their caregivers.”
The four stages of attachment are secure attachment, avoidant attachment, resistant
attachment and disorganized attachment with the latter three known as the insecure attachments.
During the first 6-8 weeks of life secure attachment is developed most often due to the closeness
shared with the mother during development. Due to the dependence of the infant on its mother or
parents a frequent interaction is forged between the two that invokes or demands a response.
The second attachment and first of the insecure group is the avoidant stage and develops
from 6–8 weeks to 6–8 months. One-fifth of babies develop in this way and it may confuse the
mother or caregiver because the infant may briefly turn his head upon the caregiver returning but
after a few minutes he acknowledges her beginning to understand that this is the person that can
be depended on.
During the resistant attachment stage, about fifteen to twenty percent of babies develop in
this way during 6–8 months to 18 months. The baby is portraying what may seem like separation
anxiety but upon return the baby is difficult to console instead of being joyous. The baby remains
upset and may even appear angry displaying an insecure attachment.
The fourth attachment and final insecure attachment is known as the disorganized or
disoriented attachment and begins to take place after eighteen months. This attachment is a
feeling of being lost. A parent or caregiver leaves and returns and the baby is confused. Five to
ten percent of babies have this feeling of “what just happened?”
I often watch younger kids and usually encounter the avoidant stage due to the fact that I
am not around constantly. I can interact with a 6-8 month infant and develop a close bond but
leave after several months. Upon returning the child initially looks at me confused as if “where
you been?” or “who are you?” After several minutes of reacquainting ourselves and making eye
contact they realize that I am the one to care and protect them like their mother.
All of the stages of attachment are important to the emotional and mental development of a
person. It teaches dependence, independence, self worth and a sense of belonging. Throughout
life we can become attached to the right things, as well as wrong things.
Kail, Robert V.; Cavanaugh, John C. Essentials of Human Development: A Life-Span View
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