Childhood is the most precious time in our life. It is the time for children to be in school to play, learn, to grow stronger and confidence with love and support of the family and extended community of caring adults. It is a precious time where children should be free from fears, responsibilities and safe from violence and protected from abuse. Childhood is much more than just gap between birth and adulthood. It refers to the state and condition of a child’s life (‘UNICEF – SOWC05’, 2019).
Considering my own childhood, I would like to have John Bowlby as my teacher. John Bowlby was a British psychologist and psychoanalyst, who believed that early childhood attachment, plays a critical role in development and mental function. He believed that children are born with a biologically- programmed tendency to seek and remain close to attachment figures, which provides nurturance and comfort, but it also aids in the child’s survival (Cherry, 2019). John Bowlby is known for being the originator of attachment theory, researching child development and influencing modern- day psychology, education, childcare and parenting.
John Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” His ethological theory of attachment suggest that infants have an innate need to form an attachment bond with a care giver, which is an evolve response that increases a child’s chance of survival, where babies are born with the number of behaviors; such as crying and cooing, and caregivers are biologically programmed to response these signals and attend to the baby’s needs (Cherry, 2019).
Bowlby was interested in understanding the separation anxiety and distress that children experience when separated from their primary care givers and some of the earliest behavioral theories suggest that attachment was simply a learned behavior where these theories proposed that attachment was merely the result of the feeding relationship between the child and caregiver because the caregiver feed the child and provides nourishment, the child becomes attached (Cherry, 2019).
What Bowlby Observe is that even feeding did not decreased the anxiety occurred in children when they were separated with their primary caregivers rather he found that attachment was characterized by clear behavior and motivation patterns and when children get scared, they will seek presence of their caregiver in order to receive both comfort and care (‘How Attachment Theory Works’, 2019)
I was raised in a joint family. Like any other children, I also have sibling and cousins of my own. When I started my primary school, I made friends of the same age and gender just like any other children. Talking about my childhood I use to cry in small thing, at that time I used to be very emotional but at teen age I learned to control my emotions and got to know that crying is not the solution for everything. I was a very reserved person when I was in childhood. I could not make friends easily, but now due to social relation after joining schools and colleges there was changes in my behavior and I eventually learned to make new friends or meet new people.
Attachment is the emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). Attachment does not have to be reciprocal. One person may have an attachment to an individual which is not shared. Attachment is characterized by specific behaviors in children, such as seeking proximity to the attachment figure when upset or threatened (Bowlby, 1969). Attachment behavior in adults towards the children includes response in sensitivity and appropriate child’s need. Such behavior appears universal across culture. Attachment theory explains how the parents children relationship emerges and influences subsequent development.
Bowlby (1958) proposed that attachment can be understood within an evolutionary context in that the caregiver provides safety and security for the infant. Attachment is adaptive as it enhances the infant’s chance of survival.
This is illustrated in the work of Lorenz (1935) and Harlow (1958). According to Bowlby, infants have a universal need to seek close proximity with their care giver when under stress or threatened (Prior & Glaser, 2006).
Psychologist has proposed two main theories that are believed to be important in forming attachments. The learning/ behaviorist theory of attachment suggest that attachment is the set of learned behaviors. The basic for the learning of attachments is the provision of food. An infant will form attachment to whoever feeds it. The evolutionary theory of attachment suggested that children come to the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachment with others, because this will help them survive. Bowlby suggested that a child would form only one primary attachment and that the attachment figure acted as a secure base for exploring the world (McLeod, 2017).
We go through different physical as well as mental development throughout our childhood. When we were toddler, our interacting and observing sense is not developed properly but as we grow up from being toddler, slowly all our sense starts to develop. A child starts to catch new words, habits, languages or we can see changes in their behavior and same thing happened to me as well. I sturdily believe that good emotional bonding with parents, mostly with mother can have great influence in the child’s life. God gave children the purest hearts and can easily form the emotional bonding with any other human beings which if not completely overwhelming undesirable effects in later life as stated by John Bowlby in The Theory of Attachment (Mcleod, 2017).
I grew up with my own family and I find myself lucky enough to have my father, mother and my elder sister as my family members who are with me all the time. I was specially very attached with my mother which is very common in the other children also. I was very little at that time, too little to understand what is love and emotion but I could understand that my mother always wanted me to be humble and kind human being who showers kindness to every living being. When I could not see my mother for a whole day, I felt like nothing else matters when she is not around. I would not play with my sister or eat anything without my mom. I still remember my father used to tease me for being “cry baby” when my mother was away when I was just 10 years old.
I have very strong connection with my mother which I never felt with anybody else. Bowlby explained this as an inborn need to attach to one main attachment figure and I think I found that figure in my mother. My elder sister was very attached with my grandpa and they were inseparable may be because she found her attachment figure in my grandpa. I am strongly convinced with Bowlby’s theory of attachment and believe that without a significant emotional bonding a child may have difficulty to open up and control his/her emotion in later life. Every child deserves to be loved, taken care of and has rights to receive continuous care from at least one significant person.
Psychoanalysis has long history of conceiving religious belief in terms of relationship between the self and others and a religious believer’s perception is that they have relationship with the deity or god leaves open the question whether such relationship is an attachment relationship. It is easy to draw analogies between beliefs about god and mental models of attachment figures, but it is difficult to say that god really can be attachment figure (Kirkpatrick, 2005). Furthermore, research has shown that adult attachments to God are profoundly distinct phenomena, such as Simon and Low (Reiner, Anderson, Hall & Hall, 2010).
According to Bowlby, one biological function of the attachment mechanism is to keep a person attached to an attachment figure. Religions provide other ways of keeping followers close to Him. Many theistic traditions define God as omnipresent, i.e., all places at all times, and while this is a key aspect of religion that creates closeness to God, it is not the only way. Almost all religions have a place or structure where adherents come to pray and be closer to their lord or deities. There is a variety of icons and symbols within these places of worship, as well as outside them; such as artwork, jewelry, and pictures of crosses that serve to remind followers the closeness of God.
A theory in developmental psychology which states that children need a clear physical and emotional connection to an adult when they grow up to acquire the different capacities that are necessary for their well-being. Normally attachment with a parent gives children the safety and security they need to deal with different threats as they grow up. The theory of attachment was first suggested in his 1958 paper by British psychologist John Bowlby, ‘The essence of the child’s attachment to his mother.’ Some see attachment as an adaptive mechanism that helps organisms overcome different life threats.
- Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1973). The development of infant-mother attachment. In B. Cardwell & H. Ricciuti (Eds.), Review of child development research (Vol. 3, pp. 1-94) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Bowlby J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.
- Bowlby, J. (1958). The nature of the childs tie to his mother. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 39, 350-371.
- Cherry, K. (2019). Biography of Psychologist John Bowlby. Retrieved 5 October 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/john-bowlby-biography-1907-1990-2795514
- Cherry, K. (2019). The Importance of Early Emotional Bonds. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-attachment-theory-2795337
- How Attachment Theory Works. (2019). Retrieved 5 October 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-attachment-theory-2795337
- Kirkpatrick, L. (2006). Precis: Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion. Archive For The Psychology Of Religion, 28(1), 3-48. doi: 10.1163/008467206777832616
- McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Attachment theory. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html
- Prior, V., & Glaser, D. (2006). Understanding attachment and attachment disorders: Theory, evidence and practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- Reiner, S., Anderson, T., Hall, M., & Hall, T. (2010). Adult Attachment, God Attachment and Gender in Relation to Perceived Stress. Journal Of Psychology And Theology, 38(3), 175-185. doi: 10.1177/009164711003800302
- UNICEF – SOWC05. (2019). Retrieved 5 October 2019, from https://www.unicef.org/sowc05/english/childhooddefined.html