Love and the Things that go with it.


Love, What is it? It is something that has been around since the beginning of human history. It is described in song and literature since the beginning of civilization and only now are we beginning to understand it. Relationships are an integral part of love, bringing to people together to share a bond that is now only being studied by psychologist. It is the experience of love starting at birth that defines what love means to each individual. It is understood that Parent-infant interactions are capable of shaping the types of relationships that the child will have later in life. In order to have a lasting relationships throughout life psychologist have outlines key attributes that are necessary to have in any healthy relationship. This is a look at how early parent and infant interactions are able to affect the romantic relationships that will be encountered later in life.

It has been said that everyone knows how to love; you just have to learn how to show it. The Attachment Theory has been used to study babies and how they develop socially, with a direct correlation being attributed to the type of care given to the infant. Children learn to understand different styles of love based on expectancies developed from childhood experiences with caregivers. When an infant is separated from its caregiver the child will go through several stages of emotional reaction. As the child is left alone the initial stage is one of protest. The child begins to protest in some manner and will refuse console from others. Despair comes next where the infant becomes passive and sad. As the child passes through despair, they move into detachment. In the detachment stage, the child shows little regard for the caregiver’s return and may actively avoid the caregiver’s attempts at consultation. An assumption must be made about the Attachment Theory and that is sensitive responding on the part of the caregiver leads to secure attachment and insecure attachment results from insensitive responses by the caregiver. These theories were developed from studying infants in an experiment called the “Strange Situations.”

The “strange situations” experiment consists of four, three-minute episodes in two different stages where psychologist film and view the infant’s interactions through a one-way mirror. In all of these episodes the doctors are studying how the infant interacts with their caregiver and inferences about the child‘s care can drawn from this interaction. Stage one, episode one the mother and baby are situated in a room with some toys in the middle. Stage one, episode two a stranger walks into the room and sits down across from the mother with the toys between the mother and the stranger. At this point, the researchers are looking to see how the child interacts with the mother upon the stranger’s arrival, whether the child continues to play or whether the child moves toward the mother for security. After one minute passes in episode two the parent and stranger begin to talk. At the end of third minute, the mother leaves allowing the stranger and infant to be alone starting episode three. After the three minutes pass the mother reenters the room concluding the first stage. The child’s behavior is then scored on four behavioral attributes proximity seeking, contact maintaining, avoidance, and resistance. These behavioral attributes lend some insight into the child-care and can foreshadow how this will affect his social interactions in the future. The first episode of stage two the baby is left completely alone in the room with the toys that are in the middle. In the second episode, the stranger reenters the room and tries to comfort the child. The third and final stage the mother reenters the room and stands at the door, which is done to see the interaction between the mother and the child and how well the child accepts the mother’s return. The “strange situations” have helped classify infants into three general categories of children.

The “secure/free” child is one that maintains contact with the mother, was easily comforted by the mother, sought proximity to the mother, and had rich play themes. The secure child would interact with their mother in a natural way often including the parent into their play theme. They