Bowlby

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Bowlby's Ethological Theory of Attachment

Bowlby’s theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. He also believed that attachment behaviors are instinctive and will be activated by any conditions that seen to threaten the achievement of proximity, such as separation, insecurity and fear. (McLeod, 2007) He believed that infants are born with the need to attach to a caregiver. He suggested it is the child’s need for response and caring from the adults rather that of the feeding or changing. The baby and the immediate caregiver form a bond that is a basis for relationships as the child grows; it can either be secure or unsecure.
Attachment develops in four phases: Preattachment phase (birth to 6 weeks), Attachment in the Making phase (6 weeks to 6-8 months), Clear Cut phase (6-8 months to 18 months), and Formation of a reciprocal relationship (18 months to 2 years and on). (Berk, 2014, p. 196) At the first stage between birth to 6 weeks, there is no formal attachment. The newborn does recoginize features and senses the mother, but also does not reject new caretakers. During the next few months of infancy, the baby becomes more self aware and can inititate a response from the caregiver. Bowlby called this a sense of trust. (Berk, p. 196) Even at this phase, the infant will not get upset when away from the caregiver. Between 8 months and 2 years the child starts displaying signs of separation from the caregiver. Younger infants may cry and reach for the mother, older toddlers may try hold to the caregiver’s leg when they are trying to leave. After the age 2 most children are verbal and comprehend the reasons the caregiver comes and goes. They have a better understanding that the parent will return, for example the parent going to work…...

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