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Childhood attachment



Childhoodattachment is a theory that explains the existing connection betweenthe children and people around them. Attachment is an emotional bondbetween different persons. The attachment in kids is a biologicalinstinct where the proximity to an attachment aspect that isnecessary in the case where a child perceives or senses discomfort orthreat. The attachment behavior gives a response that will removediscomfort or threat. tends to describe theavailability function. The availability function is the extent towhich an authoritative person responds to the necessities of theinfant as well as sharing communication with the children. Thechildhood attachment defines the characteristics that have a tendencyof shaping the children’s sense of self, their emotion regulationforms as well as their methods of carrying out relationships withother people (Bowlby,2008).


Thechildhood attachment theory focuses on bonds and relationshipsbetween people. In most cases, it focuses on the long termrelationships between parents and the children. John Bowlby apsychologist is the first person to formulate the attachment theory.He described it as the lasting psychological connectedness among thehuman beings. He believed that the formation of the initial bondsbetween the caregivers and the children have a significant impactthat extends to the rest of children’s life. He also made asuggestion that the attachment helps the infants to be close to theirmothers and, therefore, increasing their chances of survival. Thebasic theme of the theory of childhood attachment is that thecaregivers who are responsive and available to the needs of theinfants help the child in the development of a sense of security. Thechild knows that his or her caregiver is someone dependabletherefore, it creates a child’s secure base for a child to later onexplore the world (Solomon&amp George, 2011).

Thereare four different classifications of childhood attachments. Theyinclude anxious ambivalent attachments disorganized attachment,secure attachment and anxious avoidant attachment. The secureattachment describes a child who is attached securely to his or herparent. The child explores freely in the caregiver’s presence.These types of children are always upset visibly in the departure oftheir caregivers and always happy when their caregivers return. Thesecured form of attachment is greatly affected by the primarysensitivity of the caregivers to the child’s needs. The parents whorespond consistently to their children’s needs tends to createchildren who are securely attached. These children are always certainthat their caregivers will respond to their communications and needs(Kerns&amp Richardson, 2005).

Anxiousresistance is another attachment in childhood. It is also referred toas the ambivalent attachment. The general part of this attachment isthat children will have little to explore. They also get worriedabout strangers, whom they encounter with, even at the presence ofthe parent. The child becomes highly distressed when the mother isnot present. When the mother returns the child becomes ambivalent.Anxious-Ambivalent strategy is&nbspas a result&nbspcare givingwhich is responsive and displays of anger to the caregiver whenreunited with the mother. It can be addressed to as a strategy tomaintain the presence of the caretaker by controlling the interaction(Mercer,2006).

Anotherattachment in children is the anxious – avoidant attachment. Inthis attachment, the child will ignore or tend to avoid thecaregiver. The child displays little or no emotion towards thearrival or departure of the caretaker. Irrespective of a personpresent, the child will not explore much. Children who were groupedas anxious-avoidant (A) in the 1970s were representing a puzzle. Theydid not show any stress when separated from their caretaker. Theyignored the caretaker on return on the case of A1 subtype. Theinfants also had a tendency to ignore the return of the caretaker,they turned away from them. It was in the case of the A2 subtype. Thetheory of Ainsworth and Bell stated that the behavior of the avoidantchildren was a form of a mask to distress. It was a study that waslater evident after the study of heart rate of the avoidant children(Bowlby,2008).

Anotherattachment to children was the disorganized attachment. Ainsworth wasthe first discoverer of the difficulties involved in fitting allchildren in the three classifications, in the Baltimore study whichshe devised. She and her workmates identified tense movement inchildren that included hunching of the shoulders, cocking the headand constantly placing their hands at the back of the neck. Thus,there was clear evidence that such movements were an indication ofstress. The reason behind it was that the signs occurred before thechild cries and also when the child separates from the mother. In thehypothesis the signs occur when a child tries to control crying, itis because the signs disappear when the child cries. These were alsothe observations of Ainsworth`s students such as Crittenden.Crittenden stated that an abused child who was classified undersecure (B) by her coders because her behavior did not haveambivalence or avoidance showed the stress-related signs. The signswere the only indicators of the stress she experienced (Solomon&amp George, 2011).

Thereare several stages of attachments according to the research conductedby Peggy Emerson and Rudolph Schaffer. The research conductedinvolved 60 infants where an analysis of the attachment relationshipsgot defined. The children observations&nbsptook place&nbspon fourweeks basis on their first year. Later observations took place on the18th month. As a result of the research Peggy Emerson and RudolphSchaffer stated that there are four different stages of childhoodattachment. Pre-attachment stage is the first stage and it existsfrom the birth tie to their age three months. In this stage childrendo not display any form of attachment to any specific caregiver. Thesecond stage is the indiscriminate attachment that exists from theages of six weeks to seven months. It is characterized by childrenshowing some preferences for their secondary and primary care givers(Kerns&amp Richardson, 2005).

Thethird stage is the discriminate attachment. It exists from the age ofseven months to the age of eleven months. In this stage childrendisplay a strong preference and attachment for a particularindividual. They always protest when they become separated from theirprimary attachment people. The final stage is the multipleattachments stage. It takes place after a child has attained anapproximate age of nine months. In this stage children tend todevelop strong emotional bonds with the rest of the care giversbesides their primary attachment figures (Mercer,2006).


Thechildhood attachment theory has contributed to a new and better childdevelopment understanding. It should, therefore, be taken with greatseriousness since it has the capability of shaping the life of achild. Children usually develop various patterns of attachments. Theyoccur on the basis of the interactions and experiences with thecaregivers at their young age. They caregivers should, therefore, becautious when interacting so that children will develop a helpfulattachment.


Bowlby,J. (2008).&nbspAttachment:Second Edition.New York: Basic Books.

Kerns,K. A., &amp Richardson, R. A. (2005).&nbspAttachmentin middle childhood.New York: Guilford Press.

Mercer,J. (2006).&nbspUnderstandingattachment: Parenting, child care, and emotional development.Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers.

Solomon,J., &amp George, C. (2011).&nbspDisorganizedattachment and caregiving.New York: Guilford Press.