Attachment theory focuses on the bond between a caregiver and a child and how these fragile bonds, if not attended to properly have psychological and social effects on the child’s future. The attachment process itself responds to the developing identity of the child, which is very dependent on the sensitivity and guidance of the caregiver. John Bowlby takes attachment theory in a more biological/ evolutionary perspective, in which he views these formations of bonds as a survival mechanism in which the infant ensures its survival by attaching themselves to an adult (caregiver) who can meet their needs. This take on the attachment theory suggests that parents and infants may be biologically programmed to form an attachment and that every interaction and behavior thereafter facilitates the creation of this bond (Ashford 2013, 266). On a bio-social level children look for this attachment because they are biologically wired to be related to others and be social creatures. Regardless if the attachment theory is taken through a biological, social, or even psychological approach what is certain is that the child views the caregiver as a source of survival, protection, comfort, and emotional regulation (Howe 2009, 43). If a positive attachment is made by the caregiver the child will have confidence in themselves and others, they will be more likely to develop a good self-esteem, autonomy, and relationships with others (Kreutzer 1999, 9). This goes hand in hand with Erikson’s psychosocial development stages previously mentioned.
Attachment theory does not simply entail whether there was a bond made or not, but it also encompasses what kind of bond was made. Just because a bond between a caregiver and a child was crea...
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... they react well when the child appears content and occupied but are emotionally withdrawn or irritated when faced with distress and the need to comfort and give attention to the child (Howe 2009, 46). The problem that arises for the children who has avoidant attachment is that they grow up to be reluctant to get too close to others as it brings them feelings of pain and fear of rejection. As a social worker, these are the clients which are the hardest to engage as they are not able to understand or deal with their feelings.
The quality of these relationships becomes internalized by the child and it starts becoming part of who they are. This is especially important and true in foster care as the young children entering placements come from homes in which their needs were not met, but they still had formed attachment to their caregiver despite the conditions.
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