Separation Anxiety and Attachment in Infants and Toddlers Essay

Separation Anxiety and Attachment in Infants and Toddlers Essay

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Susie’s mother opened the door to let Molly, Susie’s babysitter, inside. Ten-month old Susie seemed happy to see Molly. Susie then observed her mother put her jacket on and Susie’s face turned from smiling to sad as she realized that her mother was going out. Molly had sat for Susie many times in the past month, and Susie had never reacted like this before. When Susie’s mother returned home, the sitter told her that Susie had cried until she knew that her mother had left and then they had a nice time playing with toys until she heard her mother’s key in the door. Then Susie began crying once again.

At a certain age infants begin to resist the unfamiliar and are very vocal in expressing their feelings (Brazelton, 1992). Sometimes this causes parents to hesitate leaving their child with someone unfamiliar to this child even if the parents know them well. It’s hard to leave when their young child is crying for them. They want him/her to be well taken care of and happy when they are not together.

From birth to about six months old, an infant doesnÂ’t seem to mind staying with an unfamiliar person (Brazelton, 1992), although the infant is able to distinguish his mother from other people (Slater, et al, 1998). As the infant gets a little older, at about eight to ten months, he/she begins to cry when his caregiver is not his mother or father; and again between eighteen and twenty-four months, when the infant finds out he/she has some control over what happens (Schuster, 1980). Separation anxiety could, and often does, make parents feel guilty for leaving their child and might make them wonder if they are causing their child undue stress.

Separation anxiety has been studied for many years beginning with documenta...

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...ts. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Harrison, L. J. and Ungerer, J. A., (2002). Maternal Employment and Infant-Mother Attachment Security at 12 Months Postpartum. Developmental Psychology, Vol. 38, No. 5, 758-773.

Karen, R., (1998). Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love. New York: Oxford Press.

Rutter, M., (1972). Maternal Deprivation, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, LTD.

Schuster, C. S., and Ashburn, S. S., (1980). The Process of Human Development: A Holistic Approach. Boston: Little, Brown and Company Inc.

Slater, A., and Muir, D., (1998). The Blackwell Reader in Developmental Psychology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, Ltd.

Weger Jr., H. and Polcar, L. E., (2002). Attachment Style and Person-Centered Comforting. Western Journal of Communication, 66(1) (Winter 2002), 84-103.

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