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Attachment

History Of Attachment Theory, Three Main Propositions Of Attachment Theory, Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth And The Strange Situation

Attachment is a strong emotional tie that children develop with the special people in their lives, particularly parents. Attachment figures provide comfort to children in times of stress; in so doing, they serve as a secure base from which children explore the world. Further, attachment figures serve as a source of pleasure and joy for children. Note, however, that parents also play other important roles in their children's lives, including playmate, teacher, and disciplinarian.

The development of attachment follows four phases in infancy. For the first two to three months, young infants do not discriminate among the people who care for them. From three to seven months infants begin to show their preferences for familiar caregivers, such as their parents, by reaching for them, smiling at them, and responding to soothing efforts by them. By nine months, infants show evidence of their attachment relationships. They make attempts to maintain close proximity to their caregivers, and they are distressed by separations from them. Over time, partnerships emerge between children and their caregivers, such that children develop an appreciation of caregivers as separate persons with their own goals, needs, and desires. Attachment relationships with parents and other important caregivers continue throughout the lifespan. Moreover, beginning in adolescence, other attachment relationships develop, including those with romantic partners and close friends.

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 1