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Infants Secure Attachment To Different Caregivers Social Work Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Experience of early childhood attachment is at the base of healthy child development and works as the framework for the intimate relationship with others. Early manner of communication between the caregiver and child shapes the attachment relationship. The outcomes of infant attachment considered to be long-term and influences generations of families. According to Bowlby who developed theory of infant-caregiver attachment, attachment security characterizes the confidents of infants in their caregiver, and can be observed through how they interact with their caregiver and how they make use of the caregiver as a secure base to explore their environment (Brown, McBride, Shin & Bost, 2007). Attachment theory, therefore, has been regarded as the major structure for the research of mother-child attachment, and it also might offer a practical approach for examining attachment development between other caregivers and infants. Nonetheless, in spite of a number of researches on mother-child attachment has conducted, we still are unfamiliar with attachment relationships between other caregivers such as a father and adoptive parents. Because of the socioeconomic changes that have occurred in the United States during the past three decades, more mothers, with infants, work outside the home and, in many cases, new roles for fathers within the home increased, and many couples with a variety of reasons decided to adopt children also increased. Therefore, this paper explores whether an infant can develop secure attachment to a caregiver other than their primary caregiver, usually mother, and then how father and foster mother-infant attachment relationship different from ordinary infant-mother relationship.

Importantly, sensitivity has been considered as a key predictor for secure caregiver-infant attachment. Despite the fact that the relatively few researches studying the attachment relationship with fathers, some studies on father-child attachment suggests that fathers can give sensitive care, an important factor for developing secure attachment, for their children as much as mothers can; therefore, the level of attachment between father and child appears to be comparable to that usually found with mothers (Brown et al., 2007). Moreover, Brown et al. (2007) found that when fathers employed favorable parenting activities, father involvement time does not seem to affect on secure father-child attachment. More specifically, infants tended to form quite secure attachment relationships despite the fact that either their fathers were more involved or disinvolved. When fathers, on the other hand, employed less sensitive child-rearing, increased father involvement was associated to an insecure father-child attachment (Brown et al., 2007). Therefore, father-child attachment is influenced by fathers’ parenting quality, and increased involvement is better for building attachment only when it accompanied by positive parenting. In addition, another research showed that fathers who valued the parental role were more tend to have a secure attachment with infants, but this connection was marked only when fathers have positive marriage, conceivably because these fathers are more prone to be given helping hand from their partner (Wong, Mangelsdorf, Brown, Neff & Schoppe-Sullivan, 2009). Yet interestingly, fathers who valuing the paternal caregiving role might promote secure attachment of temperamentally difficult infants, for such fathers may be tend to support them with daily child-rearing activities and be adjusted to emotional needs of their infants as well as their other demands. Accordingly, temperamentally difficult babies would be more prone to attach securely to fathers in this circumstance.

Even though all adopted children go through a stressful disjointing from their attached figures and are replaced with new attachment figures in the foster family, they are also able to develop and become attached to their fostering families. Jeffer and Rosenboom (1997) examined 80 mothers and their infant from all over the world, adopted between at age of 6 month and 8 month olds, in the Strange Situation when they were 12 and 18 months to evaluate their attachment. According to their study, they found more secure infant-mother attachment than insecure attachment relationship as normally expected. The actual proportion of secure attachment at both 12 and 18 months were approximately 75%, so secure attachments observed this research seemed to be stable over time (Juffer & Rosenboom, 1997). Another study of attachment between foster parents and infant also demonstrated that quality of mother-infant attachment in middle-class foster families was comparable to the result of families with only biological children; however, interracial adoption were more likely to have less secure caregivers- infants attachment (Singer, 1985). It might be explained by which families who adopt children of a different race than themselves are less likely to receive hearty support from extended family, friends, and neighbors than are families who adopt children of the same race. Higher rates of insecure attachment also have found among infants who spent as a minimum of 8 months in a Romanian orphanage and then placed to foster families. Infants who adopted at an earlier age, by contrast, do not appear to have an elevated rate of insecure attachment to their adoptive parent (Chisholm, 1998). From these results, although adopted age of infants seems to be a critical factor whether they develop secure or insecure attachment to foster patents, adopted infants are capable of attaching to their new caregiver, and in turn, adoptive parents are responsive enough so that they can meet their adopted babies’ needs and be a their lighthouse as well.

Since infants can develop securely attached relationship to other caregivers, the long term effects such as resiliency to new environments and having positive behaviors and expectances are assumed to be similar to which mother-infant relationship likely to have. Even though the comparison of attachment in foster and non-foster families was reasonably resemble, the outcome sometimes do not exclude the potential importance of insecure or disrupted post-infancy family relationships as a source for the adjustment problems of the adoptee. The study showed that when children reached to school age, they faced to the reality of adoption and begins to be aware of their circumstances, including being abandoned by their parents. Consequently, they often feel frustrated, doubtful, and become insecure to their current families relationship (Singer, 1985). Nonetheless, it appears that the higher occurrence of troubles accounted later on in such families cannot be explained only by attachment problems of earlier life because early secure attachment counteracts to these problems and buffers the negative emotion to some degree.

In conclusion, infants can develop secure attachment not only to their mothers but also other caregivers, including fathers and adoptive parents. It seems that infants can become attached to any caregivers, provided that those caregivers interact with them on a regular basis, provide physical and emotional care, and are emotionally invested in the child. Sensitivity plays crucial role in secure attachment development between caregiver and infant; on the other hand, the amount of time parents involves in parenting appears to be less related to secure attachment development. The similar positive outcome of secure attachment can be expected to the attachment relationship among father- and adoptive parents-infant. Children are born prepared to form relationships with those who care for them, and those early experiences influence the relationships that they develop within the family and in the greater world outside of the home. Consequently, relationships affect children’s healthy development, and children’s development, in turn, transforms their later fine relationship.


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