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Lecture 9

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Child and Youth Studies
Anthony Volk

CHYS 2P10 Lecture 9. Parents & Family Dr. Tony Volk [email protected] Rene Sptiz & Attachment • Initially observed infants in hospital settings • Noticed that infants who did not receive regular care from an individual caregiver showed “affect hunger” • That is, the infants showed impoverished emotional development and a desire for affection (early on) Harlow & The Cupboard Theory • The Cupboard Theory of attachment was initially proposed to explain the mother- infant bond • Infants bonded to the mother because she was a “cupboard” for their needs (e.g., food, water, heat) • Harlow demonstrated that physical comfort was a critical factor John Bowlby • Bowlby was a psychoanalytical psychologist interested in studying children • Synthesized evolution, psychoanalysis, and developmental psychology • Believed that there is an innate psychological mechanism for promoting a bond between caregiver and infant Tenants of Attachment • Emotional bond has a basic survival value (particularly for our ancestors) • Bond is mediated by the CNS • Each partner builds a mental working model of the relationship • That progression is gradual and sets up later mental models Phase 1 of Attachment • Preattachment (0 - 6 weeks): the infant is indifferent to particular caregivers (i.e., is indiscriminate) • This is likely due to energetic demands of newborns • However, there is some evidence that newborns do prefer their mothers (e.g., prefer her smell over other mothers) Phase 2 of Attachment • Attachment in the Making (2-7 months): during this phase infants can discriminate between caregivers, and start to build a working model of relationships based on experiences • Begin to learn social rules and norms • Limited by lack of object permanence (although this is now disputed) Phase 3 of Attachment • Clear-Cut Attachment (7-24 months): during this phase stranger and separation anxiety appear • The mother serves as a secure base from which the child can explore his/her environment • Separation is actively protested Phase 4 of Attachment • Goal-Corrected Partnership (2 yrs +): stranger and separation anxiety begin to diminish as a sense of independent autonomy develops • Relationship becomes increasingly reciprocal (e.g., negotiation, sharing) Attachment & Temperament • Initially believed to be separate concepts • However, infant temperament has been shown to influence how the parent-child bond unfolds via differences in interaction qualities (e.g., easier to bond with an easy temperament infant) Attachment & Fathers • Attachment is independent of the age and sex of the caregiver • Typically studied in mothers because they are typically the primary caregiver, but fathers, grandparents, and teachers, can all form attachments • Attachments can differ from each other (e.g., secure with Mom, not with Dad) Strange-Situation Test • Developed by Mary Ainsworth (Bowlby’s student) after observing mothers in Uganda • Her goal was to be able to measure attachment • Involves a parent and infant entering a new room that the child then explores • The child then has to respond to different situations without the parent • What is most important is the response of the infant to the returning parent • If the infant is distressed, and then quiet upon return, the infant is said to have secure attachment • If the infant does not seem to be disturbed by the parent’s coming and going, it is said to have avoidant attachment • If the infant is distressed, and then is inconsolable upon the parents return, it is said to have resistant attachment • A more recent category is disorganized attachment; it is the label when the child exhibits a mixture of other categories • There is evidence that attachment styles predict later relationships Early Social Correlates • “those with histories of responsive care and secure attachment are judged by teachers and observers to have higher self-esteem, to be more self-reliant, and to be more flexible in the management of their impulses and feelings. They can be exuberant when circumstances permit and controlled when circumstances require. They recover quickly following upset. They flexibly express the full range of emotions in context-appropriate ways. Moreover, they positively engage and respond to other children, are able to sustain interactions even in the face of conflict and challenge, and are notably empathic. Though not unduly dependent, they are effective in using adults as resources, relating to them in an age-appropriate manner. They can also walk on water.”-Sroufe, 2000 Later Social Correlates • “[Secure attachment patterns] enable them to meet the challenges of autonomous functioning and successful participation in ever more complex peer groups. In middle childhood, they are able to form close relationships with friends, as well as to coordinate friendships with effective group functioning. In adolescence, this evolves to the capacity for intimacy, self-disclosure, and successful functioning in the mixed-gender teenage peer group. They are peer leaders, noted for their interpersonal sensitivity. And they can still walk on water.” – Sroufe 2000 Attachment Groups – American Children Table 12.5: Attachment Classification in Different Cultures The Attachment of Parents vs. Attachment Styles of Their Children The Family as a Social System • The family is a social system – Most important function is to socialize children • Family is a network of reciprocal relationships – Parents influence children and children influence parents • Nuclear family is the immediate family based around the parents • Extended family is the rest of the genetic and marriage/adoption-based network Who Works Table 13.2: Costs of Raising a Child Modern Mothers • Mothers are still the primary caregivers • Women have almost equal power as men (equal rights) • However, an increasing number of women are working outside of the home • This has led to conflict in defining the role of mothers and an increase in the number of external caregivers Modern Daycare • Schools and daycare now contribute a large proportion of the care c
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