Development of attachment - Child psychology

Development of affection

Considering the child's attachment development process, J. Bowlby formulated the following four periods.

The first period, lasting from birth to three months, is characterized by an illegible attitude of children to people - they respond in the same way to everyone around them. It is known that immediately after birth, babies like to listen to human voices and look at human faces. This preference is interpreted by supporters of the attachment theory as having a genetic predisposition to a particular visual stimulus (human face), which then awakens a social smile. During the first three weeks, babies sometimes smile even with their eyes closed (usually before falling asleep), but these smiles are not yet social, because they are not aimed at people. At the age of five to six weeks, the child begins to demonstrate a social smile, which is combined with the appearance of the baby's search for eye contact with an adult. Approximately in the same period children begin to coo and walk. They babble mainly at the sound of a human voice, and especially when they see the human face. As in the case of a smile, babbling is not initially selective; babies babble almost no matter what person is next. Crying, like a smile, certainly brings the parent and child closer. During the initial phase, he does not have an orientation, the baby will allow almost any person to calm himself.

During the second period, which lasts from three months to six months, children begin to focus on familiar people, i.e. turn to the social environment. At the same time, the child's social reactions become much more selective: infants gradually limit the direction of their smiles by familiar people, they also walk and babble only in the presence of people they know. In addition, to this age the crying child is much more effectively calmed by the adult's preferred infant. Finally, by the age of five months, babies begin to reach out to the guardian and grab him.

The third period, which ends when the child reaches the age of two, is characterized by the attachment of the baby to a certain person, which becomes more intense and exceptional. In other words, the baby begins to demonstrate more clearly the behavior aimed at strengthening the safe foundation of his life. So, when you are separated from the guardian, the children cry and express their anxiety in every possible way. If in the previous stages the child could protest against the departure of any person who looked at him, now he is upset mainly by the absence of only one person, usually a mother. When the mother returns, the baby usually reaches out to her to take him in her arms, and when she does, he embraces her and makes joyful sounds. The exclusivity of the attachment of the baby to the parent is also noticeable at the age of about seven to eight months when the baby has a fear of strangers. By the age of eight months, children are usually able to crawl and therefore can actively follow the departing parent. In this sense, the infant has the ability to focus on the goal in his behavior, i.e. children monitor the whereabouts of the parent and, if he is about to leave, follow him steadily, adjusting their movements until they are next to each other again.

As has already been pointed out, the child's opportunities with age are expanding, and therefore he ceases to be content with the constant closeness to the guardian and, accordingly, the safety, but begins to explore his surroundings, carried away by the prisoners of interest in it. To realize their own activity, the toddler uses an adult as a reliable starting point for his research. For example, on a walk, children of one or two years are first close to adults and only after a while venture on their studies. At the same time the child periodically turns around, exchanges with adult glances or smiles. If the child looks back at the adult, but the child does not notice it, the baby will hurry back. Behavioral attachment also depends on the child's well-being: if he is sick or tired, the need to stay close to the mother will be stronger than the need for research.

By the end of the first year of life, the child has an internal working model of the attachment object. Adjective worker draws our attention to the dynamic aspect of mental representation: the use of mental models allows the child to create interpretations of the present situation and to evaluate possible alternatives of his action. The word model involves the creation, and accordingly, the development of a working model. However, the established internal working model of attachment begins, according to J. Bowlby, to function outside our awareness. On the basis of everyday interaction with an adult, a general idea is formed, for example, about the accessibility and responsiveness of the guardian. For example, a one-year-old girl who has some doubts about her mother's accessibility usually experiences anxiety when she explores new conditions, at any distance from her. If the formed unconscious representation can be formulated as follows: "I am loved, and others are trustworthy", then, on the contrary, it will contribute to bold and active research of the surrounding world.

For the fourth period (which lasts from two years to the end of childhood) is characterized by partner behavior of children. If for a two-year-old the information that the parents leave it for a while for some reason (for example, to buy food) does not mean anything - the child simply wants to go along with them, then the three-year-old will behave more calmly and more willingly allow parents leave because he has some idea of ​​such things and can present his behavior in the absence of parents.

It is important to note that, from the point of view of J. Bowlby, the term "attachment" It is not applicable to all aspects of child-parent relations: the role of the person to whom the child is attached and the role of the partner in the game vary considerably. In other words, the kid in the case of stress is looking for an adult to whom he is attached, and a partner in the game, when in a good mood. Of course, the combination of these roles is possible, but not universal for all societies. For example, in a number of studies conducted in the 1970s. last century, it was found that in European culture, fathers more often take on the role of a partner in the game, and the mother - the adult, to whom the baby is attached. As a result of research into the behavior of Maya Indians in Mexico, it has been shown that it is not common for their mothers to talk to an infant, approaching a person to him, or in any other way respond to a child's social request. Nevertheless, mothers react quickly to any distress of the baby.

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