Discuss concepts of attachment in human development. What implications does this have for a society in which the majority of Mothers are employed outside the home? Attachment is the bond and affection created by two people. It is a need developed in human beings since we are born to feel secure and safe. According to Bowlby, this theory is an emotion connection human beings generate when they are born where they get emotionally associated to caregivers, normally the mother, creating to an emotional reaction when this connection of attachment is in danger or gone. (Worden 1991) Lasing psychological connectedness between human beings” The caregiver is giving to the baby an emotional security needed for the development of the baby. (Hospice Slo) This attachment between baby and caregiver can be partially replaced when the baby grows and gets involved for longer periods of time during the day with other human beings but it is very important to keep the infant close to the main caregiver to improve child’s chance of survival. Birth involves changes and adjustments, pain and joy and new beginnings (Kubler-Ross 1981) Key Features of Bolby’s theory of Attachment. Monotropy: Babies are strongly attached to the caregiver who is normally the mother, and this attachment takes its form on the first year of life. -If attachment with the mother has not taken place by age 2, it will be almost impossible to adjust it, even after 6 months of the baby’s life; it would make it very difficult. -Secure attachment to the caregiver is very important for a future emotional, social and intellectual development. -Once attachment is created, if it gets interrupted it can led to massive consequences on social, intellectual and emotional development. Reciprocal: The attachment is form in a two way. -Critical period. Between 6 months and 2 years is most important period where the baby and the caregiver should be close to creating a bond. -Maternal deprivation. As Bowlby describes it, it is the serious developmental impairment caused by being separated from the mother in infancy. (Kubler-Ross 1981) Having in mind the theories of attachment according to Bowlby and the repercussions if interrupted, we can state the existence of a strong independence between mother and baby.
We can understand that this bond between baby/toddler and caregiver cannot be eternally followed. In general, the mothers, after a giving birth, have created the attachment and get connected to the baby but at some point, most of them will have to go back to a productive life and join their job again if they had one, as most women will be obliged to contribute to the necessities of the family’s finances so she will be forced to assign the task of caring for the baby after just a few months of the baby’s life.
That does not mean the attachment will be broken but the baby will spend some time during the day looked after by a second party. The baby will be responsive and create an emotional connection between the new caregiver once the caregiver is responsive and familiar. (Berger 1983) This is not a journey by choice most of the time. It would be greater if the mother could stay close to home and focus directly on what is right to be sure that her path is connected with the child. (Kornfield 1988)
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The task of looking after the baby while the mother is working could be given to a second party in the family, for example grandparents if they are able to take care of the child or any other relative. A nanny or infant day care are some other choices to achieve the right care for the baby. Once the task of carer has been assigned, the baby will be separated of his mother for most of the day and new attachments will be formed, but the main one will be the bond between mother and child.
This change could be lived by the child in a very distressed way as new people or strange people will be caring for him and it could be upsetting for the mother if the bonds are too tight. As upsetting as it could be for the child this change in life and environment could be a crucial move for the child to start learning different things, interact with other people or children and start new discoveries. Mothers always think is safer to leave children with family relates, but depending the age, childcare could be a perfect option for a child.
Once the infant is around 2 years old, being exposed to other children will help to develop and the start of relationships with other people or kids, so from being the main character in his house, children will learn to socialize with other children or people with the purpose of social growing. The father, who in a normal situation would have developed a bond with the child but in a smaller scale than the mother, he will make closer emotional connection with his child as he will have more responsibility sharing the tasks and caring for the baby. Cowan 1993) Having mentioned what attachment means for caregiver/mother and baby and the changes in modern life, we can question how this affects the working mother, the family and the child. Long-term study by University College London has studied the case and influence in young children when their mothers have to go to work and develop a professional career.
The conclusions have been revealing that the kids exposed to this situation are not harmed emotionally or socially by being left with family, relatives or day care option and they would had the same behaviour so there were no changes with the absence of the caregiver. Some researches pointed out that there are no big difference between the time a working mother or a housewife dedicate to their children, as the working mothers compensate the attention to their children on the weekends to make up for the time they have been working and they have missed expending with their child.
Psychologists’ point that it is more important the quality not the quantity of time spent with her children. The fact that the mother can develop a professional career can help to lift her self-esteem and that will be transmitted to the children instead the mother having to resign for the sake of her children which it can lead to a frustration and depression and these could also be transmitted to the children and affect their day life and their behaviour.
This case study leaded to some other repercussions regarding children gender and different situations in the household which we can blame to some dysfunctional parental issues. (Meikle) The UCL Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatics study states that children which are left in caring centres or looked after by relatives have poorer dietary habits, had more tendencies to drink sweet drinks between meals and they were an average of two hours a day in front of the TV or the computer than the children who were full time looked after by the mother.
These statements link to appreciate that working parents have less time to provide their children with a balance diet and chances for physical activity leading children to a higher risk of obesity. (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health) Another study by the University College London states that there were no detrimental effects for children if the mother goes back to work but that children’s health and emotional wellbeing could sustain if the detachment happens in very early life of the child.
Dr Anne McMunn agrees with some of the statements above and she pointed that children looked after by the mother full time had the most behaviour difficulties. (Ross, T, Barker, C) She also stated that working mothers are more likely to have higher educational qualifications which would allow them to live in a higher class in society, with bigger incomes and have lower possibilities of getting depressed than non working mothers.
These factors explain the levels of behavioural difficulties for males of non working mothers, but it would not be the same case for girls. (McMunn, A) The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D. C has studied the case of families with low incomes and the benefits in children if mothers go to work. Children in a low class family will benefit more if the mother works as there will be a financial stability in the household and the mother will become a model role to follow for the family.
Their case study was based in mothers returning to work at early age of the children (preferably almost straight away after giving birth) giving a result of benefits for the children and the family. On the other side, mothers who go back to work after her children turns 3 years old, these children will tend to have achievement problems in school, behavioural problems and conduct problems, believing that it was much better an earlier start for the mother to join work.
Doing more research on middle and upper class families, children who were left in daycares were slightly more likely to see decreases in achievement, suggesting that families with no financial problems may not see beneficial for the mother to go back to work while children are very young. These studies took place in USA and they agree there is no support for new mothers in terms of flexi time and maternity leave policies and that having more help to arrange more time with their babies could only have positive effects for children. Thompson, R. L) United Nations Children's Fund reported that children in UK are exposed to risk as mothers join work too soon having to leave babies in day care, nannies and they mentioned it reduces the emotional benefit and behaviourally if the mothers were able to look after the kids at home as maternity leave are not fairly paid and UK and it does not provide enough money for early childhood services.
Unicef reckons by their research that the lack of contact between parents and children could lead the children to depression and withdrawn, performing poorly in school and developing behavioural problems stating that the younger the baby is, the greater the risk recommending that babies should be with the parents at least till they are 12 months old. (Beckford, M) We have had the chance to compare different studies and points of view in terms of the impact and implications for employed mothers who have to be away from their homes to bring an income to the house and leave their children in care of second parties.
Some of this studies vary in opinions and we have pointed the main repercussions, but most of them agree there is no major repercussions in being absent from the household while they are working. In general, once the attachment mother-child has been established, the mother and the children will always be connected and it could be beneficial for the child for his on future development.
In the old times, mothers were staying at home looking after the children and taking care of the house, but this society we are living now has made us change this tradition and our ways of behaving relating parental attachment have changed as we need the income to survive, but the success of our children in the future will not be measured by the material things received but the intensity and quality in the affecting relations parents have been able to provide since they are children.
We need to bear in mind that most of the cases where the studies do not find any unbeneficial consequences are based in traditional families, mother and father together with no dysfunctional problems, which if these situation changes dramatically, and the consequences would be completely different. We also presume that the nanny, relative or care giver assigned for this task has experience or it is a high level institution where the children are not going to be in lack of caring of attention. References: - Beckford, M (2008) Unicef: English children at risk because mothers go back to work too soon [Online]. Available: http://www. telegraph. o. uk/news/uknews/3701376/Unicef-English-children-at-risk-because-mothers-go-back-to-work-too-soon. html [Accessed 15 November 2011] -Berger, K. S, 6th ed. , (1983) The developing person through the life p. New York: Worth Publishers. - Cowan, P. A (1993) Family, self, and society: toward a new agenda for family research. New Jersey: Lawerence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. - Hospice SLO. Worden's 4 Tasks of Grief [Online]. Available: http://www. hospiceslo. org/helpful-info/82-wordens-4-tasks-of-grief. html [Accessed 15 November 2011] -Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2009) Children of working mothers have unhealthier lifestyles. Online]. Available: http://www. ucl. ac. uk/news/news-articles/0909/09092903 [Accessed 17 November 2011] -Kornfield, J (1988) A path with heart. New York: Rider. -Kubler-Ross,E (1981) Living with Death and Dying. How to communicate with the terminally ill. New York:Touchstone. -McMunn, A (2011) Working mothers and the effects on children. [Online]. Available: http://www. esrc. ac. uk/news-and-events/press-releases/16143/working-mothers-and-the-effects-on-children. aspx [Accessed 17 November 2011] - Meikle, J (2011) Working mothers do no harm to their young children, research finds. [Online]. Available: http://www. guardian. co. k/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/22/working-mothers-no-harm-children [Accessed 15 November 2011] -Ross, T, Barker, C (2011) New mothers told it's better to go back to work. [Online]. Available: http://www. telegraph. co. uk/family/8652948/New-mothers-told-its-better-to-go-back-to-work. html [Accessed 17 November 2011] - Thompson, R. L (2010) The Kids Are All Right: Few Negative Associations With Moms' Return to Work Soon After Having Children. [Online]. Available: http://www. apa. org/news/press/releases/2010/10/working-mothers. aspx [Accessed 17 November 2011] -Worden, J. W, 4th ed. , (2010) Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook
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