Family Dynamics And The Infant And Primary Caregiver Essay

Family Dynamics And The Infant And Primary Caregiver Essay

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The most significant bond in life is established between the infant and primary caregiver. John Bowlby, the eminent authority, describes attachment as the natural connection between baby and mother (as cited in Alexander, 1992, p. 1). Family dynamics have changed since Bowlby’s time, for this reason, it is the relationship of the infant and primary caregiver to be analyzed. Bowlby’s attachment theory infers that the path of these bonds lay the groundwork for future behavior, view of one’s self, and relationship with others (Colonnesi et al., 2011). Research on abuse and neglect of infants and it’s correlation to insecure attachment and the type of insecure attachment is vital in order to establish an early intervention protocol.
Bowlby’s work on attachment theory shows if an infant develops a secure attachment it can be assumed the child is treated well and will obtain a good foundation for healthy self-esteem, behavior, and future relationships (as cited in Barnet, Ganiban, & Cicchetti, 1991). On the other hand, if the infant develops an insecure bond with the care giver, they may develop mental disturbances (Cicchetti, Ganiban, & Barnett, 1991). Mary Ainsworth, Bowlby’s contemporary, applied Bowlby’s theory in her research. In 1978, Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, and Wall, created the Strange Situation technique in order to study one year old infants attachments (as cited in Colonnesi et al., 2011). The results of their study led to three categories of attachment. They distinguished a secure attachment (B), an insecure avoidant attachment (A) and insecure ambivalent (C) (as cited in Colonnesi et al., 2011). The toddlers with a secure attachment did show distress when they parent left the room but did make physical contact w...


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...h their primary caregiver. However, the research fails to go further and link specific acts of abuse/neglect with an exact type of insecure attachment type (A, avoidant, C, ambivalent, and D, disorganized/disoriented). For example, do most children who suffer from neglect form type A attachments? Does the majority of sexually abused infants have a type D insecure pattern?
An insecure bond may be a red flag, that there is neglect, abuse or trauma happening to the child. Children who experience trauma form an insecure attachment style, it is vital to investigate further the link between specific types of abuse and the exact pattern of the insecure bond (A, C, or D) so that early interventions with appropriate treatment plans can be instituted. Thus, any effort made in trying to calculate abuse and its enduring effects must include the type of insecure attachment.

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