Theory Essay

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¶ … Theory

There have been several attempts to understand the infant self and the formation of behaviors as the infants grow, right from birth through their childhood and adolescence. Of particular interest has been the study on how the infants relate to others and how they experience themselves in relation to other. There have been a lot of concentrations on the sense of self that are essential to daily social interactions with others. This is in the form of psychoanalysis which has its foundation on the works of people like Freud, Erickson, Klein and Mahler among other psychoanalysis professionals.

Attachment is ranked among the most studied aspects of psychology today and in particular the works of Bowlby as well as Stern's works (Stern D. 1985). These are common references in the contemporary study and application of psychoanalysis and attachment in specific since it digs into the development of the thinking process of an infant, with the aid of those around him and the resultant behavior as they grow up. Attachment is what keeps the baby close to the mother as indicated by Bowlby (Sarah S., 2013).

The attachment theory has been explored for long and is seen to be an attempt to explain the behavior of the infants towards the figures they consider closest to them and these behaviors can be observed during the times when these figures are close to the child or when they are getting separated as discussed by Lee J., (2003).

During the reunion and the separation times is when the attachment to the figures can clearly be seen or experienced. According to the attachment theory, the attachment behaviors that the infant displays or forms at the infancy is a central requisite to the behaviors and future attachment to people especially when they are adults (Stern, D., 1985). What this means in simpler terms is that the child has his future shaped by the attachments that develops between him and the parents as from the tender age. It indicates that the parents are in a larger sense responsible for the shaping of the future behavior of the child or what the child grows up to be. This perspective has been opposed by some psychologists like Harris and Field as not being necessarily true that the parents shape the future behavior of the children due to the availability or lack of proper attachments developed from the infancy of the child. Harris in particular feels that there should not be too much emphasis on the role of the parents in what the child turns out to be in the future. He is opposed to the nurture concept as being responsible of the future behavior of the child and indicates that the peers and the environment play significant part in shaping the personality of the child (Stern D, 1985).

In the context of this paper, there are various differences emerging between how Stern D. (1985) views attachment and how Bowlby attachment theory works. The essay below takes a theoretical perspective of the theory of attachment and embedding it to the practical application of the theory.

Bowlby is known as the father of attachment theory and he believed that the attachment began at the infancy stage and carries on to the rest of the life of the individual. He also indicates that there are various innate behaviors that each individual develops for survival as well as procreation (Fraley, 2010).

Bowlby indicates that the infant develops a strong bond with the primary caregiver and this forms the base of exploration for the infant. The infants have that innate urge to know more and explore. In the process of exploration, the infant get exposed to danger and it is at these times when the caregiver acts as the protection for the infant (Stern D., 1985).The attachment is further divided into three according to the theory propagated by Ainsworth; Secure-this is when the child seeks protection from their mothers and the protection and care is given in a consistent manner. Avoidant -- the child here tend to avoid or pull away from their mothers. Resistant- here the infant seems to stay close to the mother even though the mother may be inconsistent in the care (Petters, D., 2006),.

Erin J. Lee (2003) hence looks at the various application of the attachment theory in the practical world and separates the categories into two; infants and parents and Adolescents and peers and looks at how these principles behind attachment works out here. These discussions by Lee will be used here to apply the principles to this paper scope of immigrant children.

Infants form attachments with parents

It is researched and found that attachments between the infant and the parents begin at infancy and they last for a lifetime. The newborns need attention immediately and the person who provides this will win the attachment and trust of the child and regardless of whom it is, there will be a bond that will be formed between them (Zhihuan J & Stephanie J., (2010). It is indicated by Bowlby that this primary caregiver will consequently shape the personality of the infant.

More often than not the caregiver is the mother and the bond between the two is formed in a matter of minutes after birth. This means that after birth, the two should be left alone together to form the bond without the presence of many people in the room who may interrupt the bonding process, consequently affecting negatively on the mother-child bond and relationship in the long run (Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus, 1995). Apparently, the mother has some natural bond as she has carried the infant for nine months, unlike the father who must start forming the bond immediately the child is born. It has been illustrated therefore that the parent-child binds are a significant player in the shaping of the personality of the child. Stern D. (1985) indicates that "Different feelings of vitality can be expressed in a multitude of parental acts that do not qualify as 'regular' affective acts: how the mother picks up baby, folds the diapers, grooms her hair or the baby's hair, reaches for a bottle, unbuttons her blouse. The infant is immersed in these 'feelings of vitality.' Children are programmed to be interested in the social world around them which is characterized by touching from the mother, the sounds and vocal interaction from the mother and the visual contact from the mother are fundamental in creating attachment as Stern D. (1985:pP53) shows.

Adolescents Form Attachments with Peers

As the children get into adolescence, they tend to cut the ties that anchored them to the parents or caregivers and tend to form autonomy as they maneuver their way through the world. They tend to shrug off parental support in most things and consequently form an alternative attachment (Lee, 2003). The attachments that will shape their future personality are therefore transferred to the peers or into marital relationship. Lee (2003) emphasizes that the relationship between the child and the parents does not become less important but the adolescent becomes less dependent on the parents. This stage still upholds the exploration as was in the infancy, the teenagers tend to explore the world through bonding with their peers but will always run back to their parents on complications that may come up.

The adolescents tend to form lasting bonds with their peers, some of which are romantic and may end up in long-term relationship like marriage. These bonds are relationships are not just important because of the need for attachment but for the propagation of the species as well (Seiffge-Krenke, 1993:Pp73). Friendship attachments formed are significant "during adolescence because they are sources of emotional security and support, contexts for growth in social competence, and prototypes for later relationships" (Seiffge-Krenke, 1993).

This is a trend observed among the immigrant children as they grow up. It is observed that they will not stick to their parents for guidance forever but will explore the larger world with their peers. They will also form romantic relationships with age mates from their home countries or closest to home countries. Most of these end up in marriage and the perpetuation of the species continues (Lee, 2003:Pp3).

Significance of attachments

Lee (2003) further looks at the various significances of attachment to the child. Here, he indicates that the child feels problems come up when the parents are not around, but get solved once the parents come home. To explain this, Stern (1985:Pp116) posits that it is due to "the ability to generate anticipations of the future-representations of possible events" and a "disposition to attempt to predict future events and to generate response to deal with discrepant situations." Secure children always feared the departure of their parents, avoidant children will not let their fears to show while the ambivalent-dependent children will indicate what they get involved in when the parents are away and cannot express one emotion at a time. The disorganized-controlling children will portray fear always but will be unable… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Theory.  (2013, March 13).  Retrieved February 20, 2019, from

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"Theory."  13 March 2013.  Web.  20 February 2019. <>.

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"Theory."  March 13, 2013.  Accessed February 20, 2019.