Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment: The Baby’s Attachme Essay

This essay has a total of 1632 words and 7 pages.

Bowlby’s Theory of Attachment: The Baby’s Attachment to the Parent

Chris Puzio
Child Psychology
Dr. Rafalowski
Tues/Thursday

John Bowlby’s theory of the development of attachment has had a major impact on early
childhood development. Bowlby assumes that the root of human personality is in the
child’s earliest relationships. A child’s development can be effected if there is any
damaging trauma in those relationships. Bowlby had focused his research on the child’s
first attachment to the mother because it is mostly the earliest and possibly the most
central. Bowlby’s theory is based on psychoanalytic assumptions.

John Bowlby had introduced several concepts from ethological theory, which brings
evolutionary concepts to bear on the study of behavior. Bowlby suggests that human
evolution has resulted in the child being born with instinctive behaviors that are built
in that elicit caregiving from others. Examples of these behaviors are smiling, crying,
or making eye contact. A mother or another form of adult in the child’s life would
instinctively respond to a baby’s cry or need of help. Instinctive patterns is what
brings a mother ans child together to form a specific attachment.

Bowlby adds important evolutionary and ethological concepts. In his view, “The propensity
to make strong emotional bonds to a particular individuals is a basic component of human
nature, which is already present in germinal form in the neonate.” In these relationships
there is a survival value because they bring nurturance to the child. This is maintained
by the instinctive behaviors that create and sustain proximity between the parent and
child or between any other bonded pairs. A child is always in the need of security which
the mother or caregiver can form that important bond.

The attachment and the attachment behavior both go along with the concept of the
affectionate bond. An affectionate bond is simply defined as very close tie with the
partner as a unique and no other individual. In this form of bond there is a desire from
the child to maintain the closeness they share with the partner. Attachment is defined as
a subvariety of emotional bond in which a person’s sense of security is bound up in the
relationship. In being attached you would feel the sense of trust, security, and comfort
in the presence of the other.

At this time the child’s relationship with the parent is an attachment, when the parent
does not feel the same attachment as the child. The presence of security is not the same.
An attachment is to an adult is ones partner or a close friend.

Attachment behaviors can be observed, which enable a child or adult to achieve and retain
proximity to someone else to whom he is attached. Examples are crying, clinging, smiling,
and touching. Primary attachment is necessary for emotional health. Attachment behaviors
are usually seen when the person is in need of care or comfort. The attachment is easy to
form because the child is most of the time in a needy state. It is the pattern of these
behaviors, which enlightens us to see the quality of the attachment or the affectional
bond in these relationships.

A baby’s attachment emerges gradually. There are three phases in the infants attachment which Bowlby suggested.
Nonfocused Orienting and Singling-
Phase 1: Boblwy believes that that the baby begins with a set of innate behavior patterns
that signal his needs for one. Described is “proximity-promoting” behaviors which are
supposed to bring one another closer. The newborns respond to the caregiving efforts for
being soothed. In this phase there is little knowledge of any form of attachment. But
during this phase is where the attachment is being formed. The child is building up the
ability to discriminate the mother from father.

Focus in One or More Figures
Phase 2: At about three months old, the baby begins to aim her attachment behaviors more
narrowly. The child may smile more to the people who are around the child more often then
smile to a strange face not seen so often. Despite the change Bowlby still does not feel
the child has formed an attachment with anyone. The child does in fact still favor a
number of people with the child’s “proximity-promoting” behaviors, and no one person has
become the “safe base” to the child at this point. At this stage the child doesn’t feel
any anxiety when being separated from the mother, nor does the baby fear the strangers
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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