Attachment is a maternal bond between a child and a caregiver within the first important years of life, which can have a big impact on adulthood. Attachment is something that a caregiver and a child create together over a space of time. It is an ongoing reciprocal love and is usually biologically driven i.e. caregivers instinctively protect and nurture offspring, whilst babies reach out for security. This is a basic function of secure attachment, providing safety and protection for the vulnerable young. They are dependent and reliant on caregivers help.
I’ll be discussing the psychological explanation of psychodynamic and social learning perspective of attachment and the effects of breaking these bonds.
Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic perspective is of mental illness, which is not physical but arises from unresolved, unconscious childhood conflicts.
Our behaviour/feelings as adults are stemmed from our childhood experiences. Children may use defence mechanisms to protect them from anxiety and mental distress. This is seen in Mary Ainsworths experiment “the strange situation”. This is where the child’s reaction to the stranger and separation from/reuniting with caregiver is measured. Children with high defence mechanisms might have avoidant attachment issues. They will show little distress and will avoid contact with caregiver/stranger. They are used to being independent and emotional barriers will usually be up. Conflicting id and superego, with the ego attempts to resolve the anxiety by using defence mechanisms.
Attachment also depends on sensitivity of the caregiver. Attachment promotes proximity and security. Feeding, carrying, protection, cuddling promotes survival and sustenance. If caregiver is distressed in anyway it can correspond onto the child who is attached
Psychosexual theory is that a child passes through a sense of stages of development. Major conflict or excessive gratification at any stage.