Attachment Theory

In: Psychology

Submitted By mmilligan
Words 2891
Pages 12
How does attachment influence the social and emotional development of the child? In your answer refer to the usefulness and the critiques of the attachment theory.
A child’s social and emotional development has significant implications for the social functioning of a child throughout their lives, in their education, friendships and employment. A child with poor or social and emotional development are at risk of experiencing poor relationships with peers, academic problems and can lead them into involvement in unsociable activities or crime. Research suggests the key to social and emotional development lies in the child’s early relationship with parents and caregivers. It is believed that children develop and thrive better when they are brought up in an environment where the caregiver satisfies a child’s needs physically and emotionally.
Throughout the Late 1930s and 1940s a psychologist John Bowlby investigated the nature and the purpose of the close relationships that a person forms with people throughout their lives, in particular, childhood. He researched the making and breaking of bonds to understand the psychological behaviour and social and emotional development of human being (Howe, 1995, P46). As a result of these investigations and studies Bowlby developed a theory called the ‘Attachment Theory’. The basis of this theory is that “the infant and young child should experience warm, intimate and continuous relationships between the child and the mother” (Steele, 2002, State of the art: Attachment). Bowlby’s attachment theory hypothesis that humans have some biological need to develop a close loving bond with their mothers, or caregiver. This bond develops within the first year of the child’s life, and if the bond is not developed or the bond is broken, the child’s emotional development may suffer. (Davenport, 1994, P9). Bowlby’s theory has been used...