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The powerful bond of love between a caregiver and child (or between any two individuals)

History of Attachment Theory:
Behaviorism despised love & attachment.
In WWII, we saw how important attachment was when children in orphanages didn’t thrive in that atmosphere.
Harry Harlow did his monkey attachment studies.
Preferred cloth mother
Monkeys without mothers: fearful, bad parents
In the late 1960’s, Bowlby put together orphanage findings, Harlow’s research, and his own research on children who had been separated from their mothers, and developed his ideas on the importance of attachment.

Primary attachment figure: the closest person in a child’s or adult’s life
Proximity-seeking behavior: acting to maintain physical contact or to be close to an attachment figure

Attachment Milestones
Pre-attachment phase - birth to 3 months
Infants show no signs of attachment.
The social smile - at around 2 months
Attachment in the making - 4 to 7 months
Infants show a slight preference for their primary caregivers.
Clear-cut (focused) attachment – at 7 to 8 months
Signaled by separation anxiety and stranger anxiety
The zone of optimum comfort is about 200 feet.
Social referencing - checking for the attachment figure and that person’s reactions for cues on how to behave
At one year, babies respond to intonation rather than content.
By four, the meaning of the words is more important.
A “working-model” or internal representation of the attachment figure is good enough to comfort by age 3.
Attachment Styles
Attachment Styles
Mary Ainsworth used the Strange Situation
Distinct attachment styles found in 1-yr-olds
Securely attached (60-70%)
Insecurely attached children react in three ways:
Avoidant (indifferent)
Anxious-ambivalent (angry)
Disorganized – most at risk (bizarre)

Percentages are similar worldwide

Attachment Styles
The Attachment Dance
Are the baby and parent in synchrony?
Is the parent able to pick up on babies cues?
Are the parents sensitive and properly responsive?
The still face experiment rates child’s upset and soothing.
The Caregiver
Most sensitive caregivers have babies that are securely attached.
Maternal depression is particularly poisonous to secure attachment.
Even before birth, a woman’s unhappiness and ambivalence correlate with insecure attachment.
Even with these early warning signals, the child still has a chance to securely attach.
Correlations between caregiver sensitivity & child security are weak to moderate.
The child’s personality plays a role, too.
The Child’s Role
Easy, Wary and Difficult babies:
Easy - have rhythmic cycles of eating and sleeping, happy and easily soothed (majority of infants)
Wary – slow to warm up
Difficult – hypersensitive, agitated and reactive (10%)
Temperament is biological (nature) while care-giving is part of nurturing. Which is more important?
The interaction of both influences the outcome.
Bidirectional reciprocal determinism

Other Attachments
A mother’s friends help overcome insecurity.
A happy marriage helps produce secure attachments.
Culture and Attachment
Babies around the world attach nearly identically.
Secure attachment hovers around 60% worldwide.
Early Kibbutz methods of child sleeping produced large numbers of insecure children.
Changing the sleep patterns to sleeping in the parents’ home increased secure attachments.
Multiple attachments occur, but there is a primary figure that is most predictive of the child’s development.
The Predictive Power of Attachment
Attachment and success in the wider world
Correlational studies show that securely attached children do very well in a variety of situations.
The correlations tend to deteriorate over time
Could be 3rd variables such as temperament or family stability
The Predictive Power of Attachment
Attachment and adult relationships
One longitudinal study of poor single mothers showed that – although 60% of infants were securely attached – at age 19 only 33% were still considered secure.
Most of the loss of secure attachment correlated to family issues – STRESS
Wrapping Up Attachment
Insecure attachment is not simply the mother’s fault:
The child’s temperament must be considered.
There are other caregivers involved.
The attachment of early life can be changed - up or down.
The wider world environment also influences attachment.
Erikson & the First Year of Life
Erikson identified the developmental task of the first year as BASIC TRUST VS. MISTRUST.

This is closely related to attachment theory because it is based on the idea that developing basic trust is foundational to success in every later stage in life.
Basic trust is developed through experiences with a sensitive and loving caregiver.
Contexts of Development
The prevalence of poverty
The U.S. Federal Government defines the poverty line as an income level that allows a household to pay for shelter, food, and clothes, with a small amount left over.
In 2005, that level was determined to be $19,350 or less for a family of four. People making up to twice that amount are often called “the working poor.”
Single mother households, immigrant (mostly Latino) households, and elderly women are more prone to poverty.
US: one out of five children under 3 years of age, and infants & toddlers have the highest rates of poverty of any age group.
Effects of Poverty
Poverty and Cognitive Development
Children in poverty
Score lower on IQ tests than their peers
Drop out of school more frequently than their peers, lower high school graduation rates
Tend not to attend preschool before starting schooling
Do not know as much as their peers when they get to school
Tend to be born in the low birth weight category
Do not overcome depressed mothers as well as their peers
Have less access to educational toys and computers
Appear to be stressed more than their peers (increased cortisol levels)
Live in substandard housing and go to substandard schools

Giving disadvantaged children a boost
Head Start (ages 3-5) and Early Head Start (under 3)
Provides health screening, social services, and parenting classes
The impact of Head Start
Improved language development and literacy
Decreased aggression
Intervention and Impact
Giving disadvantaged children a boost
Head Start (ages 3-5) and Early Head Start (under 3)
Provides health screening, social services, and parenting classes
The impact of childcare
The U.S. offers 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.
So, the average U.S. child begins non-maternal care at 3.5 months because mothers return to work.
Some of these children are cared for by other family members.
Non-family care can be “Family daycare” or “Daycare centers.”
Attachment and Childcare
Childcare, Attachment, and Development
Putting a child into daycare does not lessen the attachment bond.
Research shows it is the quality, not the quantity, of the mother’s care that determines the attachment bond.
However, high quantities of non-family care does correlate (weakly) to less than optimal behavior by age 5.
This may be due to parents sending“hard to control” children to day care more than others.
Which Childcare?
Which childcare choice works best?
If you have options – pick the best quality daycare!
Look for:
Lots of toys and loving caregivers
The relationship between the caregivers and the children
Sanitary surroundings
Ask around the area about safety violations
Look for low employee turnover at the center
How many caregivers are there per child?
Are any of the caregivers certified? Do they get training?
Is the center certified?

Final Childcare Topics
World view:
In Sweden, women get 1 year of maternity leave at 80% of their pay.
Sex differences in day care:
Boy babies were found to be much more difficult when adjusting to the situation.
The effects of bad and crowded day-care show up more in boys.
Attachment differences:
Securely attached children do best.
Children did better if their parents spent time at the center helping their children get acclimated.
Living as a Toddler
The milestone of self-conscious emotions indicates awareness of self.
Shame and guilt are essential to socializing.
Socialization: The two-year-old challenge
Prior to age two, most rules center around safety issues.
By age two, we include socializing rules.
Regulating behavior develops from 1.5 to 4 years of age and comes in two types
Stop doing something - don’t touch - (more easy to perform)
DO something - clean up - (not as easy to perform)

Being Exuberant or Shy
Temperament is an important element in obedience.
The fearless, exuberant, joyful, intrepid explorer is harder to control and girls are more often able to regulate better than boys.
About 20% of babies are inhibited and another 20% are uninhibited.
Most will drift closer to the emotional center by age 4 to 7 years.
Being Exuberant or Shy
Socializing a shy baby
Parents that insulate their shy baby end up with children ranked most shy. Don’t overprotect.
Gently exposing the toddler to new and frustrating situations teaches them to cope.
Raising a rambunctious toddler
Resist power assertion - don’t yell, scream and hit (leads to lower levels of conscience development)
The best way to get compliance is to develop a strong attachment bond.
Love and acceptance matters most to securely attached kids.

Promoting the best temperament-environment fit

-Foster a secure, loving relationship
-Understand the child’s specific temperament
-Minimize vulnerabilities and accentuate strengths