Child Development: Ealry Infant Attachment

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(Early infant attachment is an important phenomena to study as it is connected to later child development). Early infant attachment is linked to cognitive, social, and emotional development (Pallini, Baiocco, Schneider, Madigan, & Atkinson, 2014). These three developmental aspects are significant in one’s later mental process capabilities, the relationships formed later in life, as well as their psychological stability. The attachments formed with caregivers in infancy are vital. Bowlby stated, “It is our first relationship, usually with our mother, that much of our future well-being is determined” (O’Gorman, 2012). It’s crucial for a child’s development to look at parenting styles and early infant attachment classifications which are made to caregivers. Most research focuses around mother-infant attachment making little known about the relationships made with fathers. Through the well-studied idea of maternal-infant attachment there has been important insight into a child’s development. Mary Ainsworth found through her “Strange Situation” experiment that there are three distinct types of attachment that infants form; anxious avoidant, secure, and anxious resistant (O’Gorman, 2013). Later a fourth attachment style known as, disorganized attachment, was identified (CITE). Secure attachment is linked to maternal sensitivity just as insecure attachment is linked to maternal rejection or unpredictable maternal response to an infant’s desires and needs (Kinsvatter, Desmond, Yanikoski, & Stahl, 2013). Infants are “at risk” of developing an insecure attachment to their mother when they are placed in alternative care before nine months of age (Stifter, Coulehan, & Fish, 1993). This is concerning in that we see there are negative effec... ... middle of paper ... ... play has a strong impact on a child’s emotional development as well (Hjelmstedt & Collins, 2008). The focus of this study is to see if infant form the same crucial attachment classifications to their fathers as they do to their mother and if the parenting style is linked to the attachment formed. Given the increase in stay-at-home fathers and the research done on the importance of early infant attachment on a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, it is a sound claim to make that looking at parenting styles and the attachments formed to fathers could provide great insight to an under-researched subject. It is hypothesized that parenting styles are linked to the attachment infants form to fathers, as the primary caregiver, and these attachments are much like the four identified styles found with mothers which can be observed in a strange situation.

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