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The human need to have our mother near is the theory that is expressed in chapter one. Chapter one goes through a time line of how we, as humans, came across this theory. The author tends to talk about and describe how as babies the basic need to have mother around is just as important as having food, water, and clean diapers. The author gives examples of children who were adopted after infancy and children whom had to spend significant amounts of time away from their mothers during their infant years had suffered from infections and “hospitalism”, and also severe depression and lonliness. Researchers such as Levy, Bender, Bakwin, Goldfarb, and Spitz had all published papers but very few in the psychoanalysts world paid very much attention.

Infants whom were put up for adoption were not adopted until after their infant years because doctors found that many children in orphanages were prone to not being very intelligent later on in life and even some being mildly retarded with low IQ scores. Doctors also said that the children should gain an attachment to someone who was not going to be a permanent parent figure. This of course later changed with findings from the above doctors and researchers. Another important concept of this chapter is that some of the babies that were hospitalized in Bellvue were dying off. They thought this to be due to germs and bacteria and went to extreme cases to try and protect the babies from this until Bakwin, who took over the Bellevue in 1931, changed the routines to paying more attention to the children, having more contact, and play with them. The infection rate in the hospital went down. Also an important note is that when babies were placed in a good home that the symptoms of “hospitalism” went down.

In my own opinion of this chapter, I can’t believe that it took doctors that long to figure out that a baby needs attention and love in the very early years of life. This all goes into the basic trust vs. mistrust factor that we have discussed in class. I have personally experienced something of this magnitude when I was a child. I had a friend who was very close in age that whom was adopted along with his younger sister whom was just a few years younger. I’m not exactly clear on the factors of when they were adopted, where their real parents were or how long it took to be adopted. Although the older of the two was very deceitful and didn’t behave very well, even at times in adolescence going as far as physically hurting his parents. The younger of two seemed to be a little bit more attentive to her parents even though she did turn out to be a bit of a rebel.

Chapter Two: Enter Bowley: The Search for a Theory of Relatedness.

This chapter spends a great deal of time on the studies of John Bowlby, a psychoanalysis whom wrote a paper in 1939 about his views about early childhood experiences that have lead to psychological disorders. His views centered around a few main ideas. All this started with a concern of the child’s home life. When you think of a child’s home life you naturally think of how clean the house is, what class of living the family is, or how educated the parents are. Although we should really be looking at is the emotional quality the house has to offer such as how the mother treats the children. Does she act tense around the baby all the time or does she direct hospitality towards the child? Bowlby went on to theorize that there are two environmental factors that contributed to the child’s early years of life. The first being weather the mother was dead or if the child was illegitimate or if there was a prolonged period of time that the mother and child were separated.

The second was the mother’s emotional attitude towards the baby. Examples of this are in how “she handles feeding, weaning, toilet training, and the other mundane aspects of maternal care.” The rest of the chapter tends to go on about Bowlby’s life and childhood. I noticed that his childhood was very different from what his ideal thought of how a child should be raised. I tend to think that maybe he had some hidden resentment towards his parents especially for sending him off to boarding school at such a young age. He is even quoted as saying he “wouldn’t send a dog off to boarding school at that age.”

Bowlby was later introduced to the idea that a parent’s unresolved conflicts as a child were responsible for how a parent treated their children. The book gives a good example of a father or wrestled with the problem of masturbation all his life and how when his eight-year old son did it he would put his son under a “cold tap”. Bowlby was looked down upon by his analytic superiors because it was not mainstream.

Another important idea in this chapter has to do with the Oedipus complex. Freud had many patients whom were hysterical and he blamed this on the molestation from parents, but later retracted this idea saying that it could have been just a fantasy that the patient believed. Could it be that this could be a biological disorder in the brain that blocks them from ever overcoming the Oedipus complex?

Chapter 3: Bowlby and Klein: Fantasy vs. Reality

This chapter discusses the views of Melanie Klein and how they differ from Bowlby’s. Klein believed that the child had a love-hate relationship with its mother, but more so with its mother’s breast. That the baby would have an on-going struggle with loving the very thing that gave it life and at the same time hating it and wanting to destroy it. She believed that the child would “fantasize” about being chased or even hurt by something that resembled the child’s parents. Klein, unlike Bowlby, believed that there was no direct correlation between the parents personal conflicts and the child’s. She chose instead to focus all the therapy on treating the child and ignoring the adult. Bowlby believed that by treating the parents and helping them discovering their own feelings. Bowlby believed that internal relationships reflected the external relationships, whereas Klein only thought that the internal was subject to treatment. “Psychic reality was more important to her than maternal reality”.

Chapter 4: Psychopaths in the Making: Forty-four Juvenile Thieves

“Forty-four Juvenile Thieves: Their Characters and Home-Life” was a paper written by Bowlby in 1940. The basis of this chapter was explaining the research and ideas that Bowlby put into the paper. One thing that particularly interested me in this chapter is that Bowlby thought that every child had this form of hatred towards their parents, especially their mother. He also said that when the child enters adulthood, the way the child deals with this conflict of love-hate, it would define their character. Just like the hate the child feel for the parents, the parents feel the same way about their child at times. The way parents deal with these thoughts were called “primitive defenses”, which sets up a wall to block these ideas and feelings from the conscious. It is a way for the mother to handle these feelings in a mature way.

The purpose of Bowlby’s paper, however, was to explain that this is why some children act out more than others, but only in extreme cases. Cases such as, separation from the mother for an extended period of time or growing up in foster care and ever really attaching themselves to a single set of parents or parent figures. Bowlby stresses that there may be a critical point in the child’s life where that attachment period takes place. Bowlby’s key question was: “What conditions in the child’s home life might make a favorable adjustment more or less likely?”. In his research of the thieving children he found that the majority of them have been separated from their mothers when they were very young. It seems to me that he is implying that due to the lack of attention from a motherly figure that these kids act out.

I believe that the kids do act out do to this but at a young age that they are in, they need constant attention especially since they didn’t receive beforehand. He blames the kids stealing on the disturbances of the parents and how their home life was. I don’t think I know too many perfect households in which the parents themselves didn’t have some sort of disturbances, but I assume that Bowlby is only studying the extreme cases. Bowlby made an association between an affectionless child and separation between child and mother, which makes sense, but what about the cases in which a parent does all they can and the child still wants to act out. It is later mentioned at the end of the chapter that in is not necessarily that separation itself is the cause for this but separation during the critical period where the child does not get a chance to truly bond with the parent and for an attachment.

Chapter 5: Call to Arms: The World Health Report.

In this chapter Bowlby Maternal Care and Mental Health, which is about the psychiatric damages done to children who were institutionalized. Along with Bowlby were other researchers such as Levy, Bender, Bakwin, Goldfarb, and Spitz who were all working on similar researches as Bowlby. Although none of them knew that the others were working on the same idea, they all came up with similar conclusions. Bowlby focused on the separation from mother dangers and the benefits of foster care, and at what ages the children were. Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud, who ran a residential nursery for children whose parents were effected by the war found if the infants were really young and had a surrogate mother figure the adjustment came naturally. The adjustment was a little more difficult for children over the age of three, but if the separation process was gradual rather than sudden, it seemed to work fine.

The more serious case was for the children in between these ages. They did not adjust very easily if not at all. One child in particular, who had a nurse that he became attached to, would ignore her when she came back to visit her. This is an expression of the love-hate relationship that the child experiences towards his mother or mother substitute. Some children who became adjusted to their current environments at the nursery, had trouble readapted at home when they left. These children became hostile towards their parents and expressed rage and jealousy. All this became a focus point on Bowlby’s argument that the mother-infant relationship was a crucial need and not a privilege. Bowlby went as far as to say that even if a mother isn’t perfect in the sense of being organized, clean, or even unwed that she would be a more acceptable mother than having the infant institutionalized in a clean and organized institution.

Chapter 6: First Battlefield: “A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital”

Instead of focusing on the children whom were abandoned and put up for adoption, this chapter talks about the children who were only hospitalized for a short period of time and also experienced some of the same symptoms as the other children. These children suffered from what from what Harry Edelston called “hospitalization trauma.” Some of the symptoms described were that the children felt rejected and acted out by crying profusely. Eventually the children would settle down, but when the parents came back to visit for the brief amount that they were allowed, the children would act up again. Some children (ages 1-3) would try to climb out of their cots, crying for their mothers to come back. Upon returning home the children would express their rejection in ways such as timidity, lost confidence, violent outbursts, and refusal to sleep alone to name a few. The baby would only cling to the mother for fear that she would leave the baby again and in some cases would not even go to the father.

The chapter goes on to talk about James Robertson, who was hired by Bowlby in 1948 after he received his first research grants. Robertson’s job was to observe children who had been hospitalized as they were admitted and to record their reactions. He sometimes would follow up by going back to the home and recording some of the reactions there. At the home he found much of the same symptoms that were described earlier. The hospital did not agree with Bowlby or Robertson’s theory that there was a special needed bond between mother and baby. They would say that the mother’s just were not as competent, even when Robertson thought they were. Robertson said the children went through three stages of emotional reactions: protest, despair, and detachment. After detachment the child seems to not even recognize mother. Robertson later filmed a short film, which showed some of these symptoms. Upon viewing these films by hundreds of hospital workers, he was discredited and the audience was outraged that he would film such lies. Anna Freud was supportive of the film, while the Kleinians rejected it. Eventually this lead the way to having parents start to stay the night with their children under the age of five.

Chapter 7: Of Goslings and Babies: The Birth of Attachment Theory

This chapter begins with comparisons of attachment through animals and humans. A lot of the facts about the bonding of birds and mammals are through ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen. It is noted that Lorenz is considered the father of modern ethology. They favored “species-specific behavior”, which they considered being instinctive but having to be learned. Examples of these were the birds song or nesting behaviors. Bowlby thought this was related to humans basic in instincts, but also thought that if they weren’t cued somehow in their environment that they would not develop. Bowlby thought sucking, clinging, following, crying, and smiling were all basic human instincts. Bowlby started talking about “attachment” in that it was more of something that grew, like love, other than being an instant bond at birth. When the baby went through the separation anxiety, it was due to a disruption in the attachment process. Before the baby is able to comprehend the idea of having a mother and loving her, the only love the baby knows is of the sucking of the breast or bottle.

Another important concept in this chapter is that Bowlby thought that babies were capable of feeling a lost of a specific loved one. Weather it was through the anxiety the mother passed through after losing her husband or through not having the mother nearby. Bowlby said that there were three reactions that a baby had to separation: protest, despair, and detachment. “Protest is an embodiment of separation anxiety, despair is an indication of mourning, and detachment is a form of defense.”

Chapter 8: “What’s The Use To Psychoanalyze a Goose?” Turmoil, Hostility, and Debate.

In this chapter the rivalry between Bowlby and the Kleinians starts to heat up with some debate. Bowlby continues with his theory that humans will be deprived if they have to endure prolonged separation from the mother at an early age, although he makes it clear that he favors small amounts of separation. He says this is healthy because it gives the mother a chance to get away and helps prepare the child for when he is older in age and has to endure separation even longer. An important note I would make is the role of the parents as the child grows. The mother being the primary caregiver and the father being a second. The father’s role is to be supportive of his wife, for when the child grows up later in life, he will have a more significant role. Keeping the wife happy is part of the child’s care. Bowlby goes on to compare us with higher animals as he did in the last chapter, but says we are more flexible in the aspect of being able to make up for our losses during the critical periods of our infancy.

Bowlby had a lot of critics during his lifetime, many being the women of the time, his analytic critics, and of course the Kleinians. The women thought the he was determined to keep women at home. Although he welcomed women in the professional world, he thought that they should stay home with the infant until at least the age of three. His analytic critics said that he gave “gross simplification of theory” and that all disturbances resulted from the mother-baby bond. They were basically saying that there were other factors involved other than the bond such as if the mother was incompetent or if the mother has another baby. They also said that he ignored intrapsychic processes that were apart of human nature. These processes are what separated human from beast, coining the phrase “What’s the use to psychoanalyze a goose”. Bowlby’s views were not very popular with his peers. His peers thought that his views seemed to be unanalytical. Despite all this Bowlby still insisted that there was a necessity of intimate attachments that were very critical in the human life cycle.

Bowlby did, in fact, show a lot of interest in the intrapsychic processes. He explored aspects of repression and dissociation in what he called “defensive exclusion”. He also showed how the child’s experience with the parental figures and other intimate people in his life builds up an “internal working model” of himself and others. Another counter part of Bowlby was Anna Freud. She and others argued that what Bowlby said was valid was not new and what was new was not valid. She tended to believe that young children were not capable of mourning. Freud and companies replies to Bowlby’s latest paper, “Psychoanalytic Study of the Child”, were very defensive and no replies such as these were ever made again. This obviously placed Bowlby in a league of his own and showed that he was on to something. The rest of the chapter goes on to examine the debates with other psychoanalysts such as Samuel Pinneau.

Chapter 9: Monkey Love: Warm, Secure, Continuous

This chapter tells a lot about one of the four main things that an infant needs from its mother, warmth. A psychologist by the name of Harry Harlow reported a series of experiments in 1958. His experiments were with monkeys that he took away from their mothers six to twelve hours after birth. He placed them in total isolation except for what he called a “surrogate mother”. This “surrogate mother” was made of wire mesh and cotton terry with a light bulb to generate heat. The monkeys clung to the cloth even when it was being fed by something else. For these monkeys, cuddly contact seemed very important than any other condition. The monkeys became attached to whatever they first came in contact with. Later on in life these monkey showed abnormalities, particularly with social and sexual behavior. They proved to be very abusive and even fatally harmful to their young. Harlow’s experiments made such a huge impact because of the similarities between young monkeys and young human infants. Of the things they had in common were the way they became attached to certain items and how they responded to feeding and physical contact.

Meanwhile, Bowlby had asked Mary Ainsworth to stand in for him during a report. During this time she noted that maternal deprivation was composed of three different dimensions: lack of maternal care or insufficiency, distortion of maternal care or neglect, and discontinuity in maternal care or separations. She further noted that it was difficult to study any one of these conditions alone because the intertwined with one another so frequently. She also further explained different contradictions of Bowlby’s research and defended it.

Part II

Breakthrough: The assessment of Parenting Style

Chapter 10: Ainsworth in Uganda.

This chapter starts to focus more on Mary Ainsworth rather than Bowlby as in the preceding chapters. It starts out telling how she grew up and then how she came to meet and spend three and a half years working with Bowlby. After her time with Bowlby, she heads to Uganda in Africa. In Uganda she sought out to research families in their own environment to try and get to the bottom of the debate around early separation. She took a sample of twenty-eight babies from twenty-three households. She then proceeded to visit each home for two hours a day every two weeks for nine months. She believed that the Ganda custom was to separate the child from the mother so they would “forget the breast” and for the grandmother to take over the care. Later on she would find this to be inaccurate. Instead of observing the separation and its affects, she found that she actually began to study attachment in the making. She found that the babies didn’t just become attached because the mother filled his needs, but because the mother provided security.

She would write: “The mother seems to provide a secure base from which these excursions can be made without anxiety.” She hypothesized five phases in attachment. The first being a phase of undiscriminating, the second of differential responsiveness, the third being able to respond from a distance, the fourth one is active initiative, and the fifth being the anxiety of a stranger. The more the babies became attached the bolder they became in exploring new surroundings and alarmed by strangers. There are two types of attachment, secure and insecure. The insecurity came from being weaned from the nipple. The baby still wanted the nipple and probably felt betrayed. She also found that two of the babies she observed became unattached. This happened, she believed, because the babies were neglected.

Chapter 11: The Strange Situation

In this chapter we continue to follow Mary Ainsworth and her studies as she travels back to the states into Baltimore. In Baltimore she wanted really badly to replicate the studies she had done in Uganda and continue her study of attachments in infants. She eventually set up an observation study that would take place in the home instead in a lab or play center that was made to look like a home. She put together a team of four observers and twenty-six families. Ainsworth and her team tried not to act as simply observers but more like a part of the family by helping with the baby, talking, and holding of the baby. They did this to help encourage the mothers to act more naturally.

What Ainsworth wanted to know is if the American babies would act like the Ugandan babies. Were the patterns universal? She thought that there would be a pattern and that the babies would behave in pretty much the same manner. As the study went on she found that there was a pattern and that her hypothesis was correct, although there were two differences that were culturally derived. She found that the Uganda babies used a secure base and the Baltimore babies didn’t really because they were more used to having their mothers come and go rather then having their mothers always around like their counterparts. She thought that just because she didn’t observe it in the home that it still may exist. This is how she came to begin the Strange Situation experiment.

The Strange Situation was a laboratory assessment that would eventually come to measure the effects of “the partial forms of maternal deprivation”. The Strange Situation was an experiment that started with them mother and baby in a play room, then entered a stranger who met with the baby. After a few minutes the mother would leave the baby with the stranger and then later return. Then the baby would be left alone in the room without the mother or stranger. After the baby’s response to this, the stranger would come back in and try to play or comfort the baby. After a little while more the mother would return and this would end the Strange Situation. Ainsworth studied the babies’ responses all through out this process.

She categorized these babies in three main categories: secure, ambivalent, and avoidant. The ambivalent babies became extremely distressed by the separations and eagerly wanted their mothers back, but resisted them at the same time. The avoidant babies seemed secure but did not want to cling to their mothers like the secure babies did, basically ignoring their mothers. Then she divided the insecure category into two subgroups and the secure babies into four subgroups. The insecure group was divided because some babies were more angry while others were more passive. The secure group was divided because although the babies were secure, they showed some signs of avoidance or ambivalence.

Further analysis of her data showed that the mothers who responded more quickly were actually less likely to have a baby that cried all the time and that had babies that were more securely attached. They seemed to have developed confidence in themselves and their ability to control their mothers.

Chapter 12: Second Front: Ainsworth’s American Revolution

This chapter discusses the how Aisworth started a sort of revolution of debate against the behaviorists. Her studies do not necessarily disagree with behaviorism, but just emphasizes the fact of emotional attachment between the infant and mother. At the time Aisworth was coming out with all this new ideology, the dominant force in psychology where the developmentalists did their teachings and research was in fact behaviorism. The learning theory was not concern with how the infant felt or its internal experience, but instead focused mainly on the learning and behavior. They thought that by counting behaviors was the right way to research. Ainsworth started a wave of other researchers in the idea of attachment after the Strange Situation, while the behaviorists were coming up with new ideas about classical conditioning and operant conditioning. The idea behind the conditioning is that certain behaviors are reinforced with rewards or punishments thus making a infant more likely to perform that behavior again, such as crying. The attachment theory is basically saying that the infant cries for a reason, that it needs attention, feeding, or changing every time he cries.

The behaviorist theory says that if you spoil the child by going to him every time he cries that you will have a “crybaby” on your hands, while the attachment theory is that it is actually less likely because the child will become attached. Ainsworth and Bowlby saw that learning was just one small part of a complex web of human nature. They further said that attachment developed because of the instinctual needs of the infant and not because of “punishments” or “rewards”. The behaviorists thought that Ainsworths studies of attachment would not prove stable and attacked her ideas every chance they could. Another researcher, Everett Waters, found that her studies actually did prove to be correct. Ainsworth’s studies with the Strange Situation went on to become a great tool in modern psychology, for the first time researchers had the three main categories of the infant and opened the door for further empirical studies. Now researches could find a way to study children who have been assessed at twelve months in order to see how they further developed.

Chapter 13: The Minnesota Studies: Parenting Styly and Personality Development

In this chapter we start to look at a different study by a different person. Alan Stroufe wanted to conduct a follow up to Waters’ study of attached and unattached children. His goal was to see if the quality of the attachment would stick through. He had two graduate students working with him at the time, Leah Albersheim and Richard Arend. They got together forty-eight two-year-olds who had been assessed by Waters six months earlier. They gave the children a task to perform that required a little bit of problem solving. The securely attached children did better almost always, while many of the anxiously attached children fell apart under stress.

Margaret Mahler went on to study the relationship issues for two-year-olds and their mothers. Mahler described a “rapprochement” phase, which overlaps much of the second year, as a clearer sense that the mother is a separate individual whose wishes do not always go along with the child’s. The child had a conflict of pushing the mother away and clinging to her. The mothers of the securely attached children were rated very high in both the “supportive presence” and “quality of assistance”. The mothers of the anxiously attached children seemed unable to maintain an appropriate distance. They didn’t want the child to have any problems or frustrations. The mothers of the insecure attached children just did nothing and offered no assistance. Later on the children were assessed at three and a half and the secure group appeared more advanced in other relationships. Sroufe was now convinced that Ainsworth’s Strange Situation had not been a waste of time and being random behaviors.

In 1974 Byron Egeland put together a new sample of children coming from lower class families instead of the middle class that Ainsworth and Sroufe had done. He would study these 179 families for the next two decades along with Sroufe. In these studies they found that depressed mothers were more likely to have anxious children at one year. Children with a secure attachment history scored higher in all the areas being tested such as self-esteem, independence, and the ability to enjoy themselves. Ambivalent children were too preoccupied to have feelings for others and avoidant children seemed to take pleasure in the misery of others, much like bullies. Some ambivalent children seemed to be easy marks for the bullies while the aggressive avoidants tended to be more disliked. Sroufe made three types of avoidant children: the lying bully, the shy, spacey loner, and the disturbed child. He also made two ambivalent patterns: the impulsive child and fearful hypersensitive child. Anxiously attached children seemed to become more dependent in life even though they were not pampered in their infant years in contradict the behaviorist theory. Although being securely attached did not promise a problem free life for the child, they showed more competence, flexibility, empathy, and relational abilities.

Chapter 14:The Mother, The Father, and the Outside World: Attachment Quality and Childhood Relationships.

This chapter discusses what Harry Stack Sullivan calls the emergence of loyal friendships. The different types of securely attached children acted differently in how they acted in social groups or with just one playmate. The children that were watched were the children from the Minnesota studies. The securely attached children developed positive social expectations and were rated as being more sociable. Anxiously attached children were less sociable and other toddlers didn’t respond as positively to them. Sroufe and his team came up with a new experiment of pairing up the children in every possible combination of the different types of children. They found that the secure children naturally excelled. The ambivalent children were drawn to relationships but usually were not competent in them. They did well with their secure partners but not so well with the avoidant children. The avoidant child repeated acts of cruelty to the ambivalent children and often antagonized them. The securely attached children with have nothing to do with such bullying. Sroufe came to realize that the children who performed such acts against other children were often victimized themselves at home.

The children may have experienced physical abuse, emotional unavailability, or rejection. He also came to realize that the child’s understanding of relationships were form from the relationships he experienced at home. Patricia Turner later studied and found that there were differences between how the anxiously attached boys behaved differently from the girls. The boys were more aggressive in their quest for attention while the girls were more likely to simply smile. Ainsworth believed that something besides the attachment system was at hand in how the kids behaved. As the kids grew older, they were still studied and found that some children seemed to act a little better than expected given their attachment status. Ainsworth called this the “sociable system” and that it was very complex. Sroufe found that the secure attachment advantages did last until about the age of fifteen. If Sroufe is able to continue studying these children it would have a huge impact on how we understand drug abuse, delinquency, and even how the children of these children mirrored the attachment of their parents. Another import part of this chapter was the involvement of the father and the attachment to the father.

Michael Lamb observed children ages seven to thirteen months and found that infants showed no preference for mothers and fathers unless they were distressed. If they are distressed the infant would prefer the mother. Mary Main and Donna Weston found that children were just as likely to be attached to their mothers than their fathers but there was no correlation. The role of the father to the children was for them to use them as a stepping-stone to the outside world and help with the child’s ability to move outside his mother’s orbit. Fathers are able to offer something to both sons and daughters that mothers cannot. Finally the most important role for a father is to be supportive to the mother so she will be more adequately nurturant mothers.

Chapter 15: Structures of the Mind: Building a Model of Human Connection

This chapter talks about Bowly’s “internal working model”. Bowlby thought that the infant was not shaped by its environment, but is rather constantly trying to figure out the world around him. Another psychologist, Jean Piaget, thought generally the same way. They believed that intelligence is built throughout life, that the infant strives to learn and understand the world around him. Bowlby thought of this was relating to the world while Piaget thought of it as mastering. They further thought that the child learns relationship skills from observing the relationships around him and thus makes a model of how they work.

Bowlby thought that in order for the child to start exploring relationships, attachment was necessary. Children who were never attached or were anxiously attached would have no “internal working model” and would have a hard time recognizing a loving relationship. This would cause distortions in the child’s mind. The child wouldn’t see things the way they were and would expect to be rejected. The child will then build up defense which would cause even more distortions such as consciously thinking good thinks about the mother but unconsciously thinking bad things. This would explain why it is hard for children like this to change over time because the negative models have such an impact on the mind. Bowly’s work on the internal model was very important. It helped bring psychoanalytic concepts about inner processes closer to the mainstream of developmental thinking.

Chapter 16: The Black Box Reopened: Mary Main’s Berkeley Studies

In this chapter Mary Main, one of Ainsworth’s students, continues the studies of patterns in attachment as children grow older. In this case, with six -year olds who were assessed at twelve months of age. Along with other graduate students like Nancy Kaplan and Donna Weston, they brought in and videotaped forty families and gave them two- hour assessments. They started by showing each of the six-year olds photographs of children who were experiencing separation and asked how they think the child in the photo were feeling. Kaplan found that about 79% of the children reacted as expected from their original assessment. The securely attached children were sometimes able to relate the photo with their own experiences. They took their feelings very seriously and were very open with talking about it. The avoidant children seemed overstressed and didn’t really know how to react. The ambivalent children were very intense and would contradict themselves by wanting to follow them and then hurt them.

After they were shown these photographs the children were then shown a polaroid of their own family. Naturally, the secure children were very warm towards the picture while the anxious children were more likely to avoid the picture all together. Main and Kaplan believed this was the internal working model of the children. They believed that the internal model reveals itself in different ways at different times of the child’s life. Also, that the model is always there inside the person’s psychological make-up. They later brought in Jude Cassidy to observe the reunion of the children with the mother and then the father together. Cassidy did not know the previously assessment of the children and was faced with the task of trying to find the differences in the reunions. She noticed that the secure children were very comfortable and seemed glad to see the parent, but at the same time being very subtle. The avoidance child kept kind of a neutrality so to maybe show the parent that he was not affected. The ambivalent child continued to act contradictory towards the parent by mixing intimacy with hostility.

Chapter 18: Ugly Needs, Ugly Me: Anxious Attachment and Shame

In this chapter, the author discusses how children whose needs, both physical and emotional, are not met tend to develop feelings of shame about themselves. These children learn through their neglect that they are not worthy of love and respect, and thus tend to develop negative feelings about themselves. The author describes how shame can develop from several different sources. If the young child feels love for his or her parents that is, for some reason not returned, then the child will begin to feel ashamed of it. The child will then develop a secret hatred for the parent, and will learn to feel guilty about it whenever it is expressed. When children are rejected and neglected in their early childhoods, they begin to develop feelings that they are ugly and undesirable. If parents seem to reject certain aspects of the child’s character or personality, then this will inevitably lead to shame on the part of the child as far as these characteristics are concerned.

Another reason that shame might become part of the child’s feelings about his or her self is if the child is made to feel bad for being greedy, which is natural in infants and young children. If parents are self centered and ungiving, they will typically lead the child to believe that he or she is selfish and greedy for needing and wanting attention. The child will then develop shame that he or she needs and craves this attention, and in later life will strive to be completely giving and helpful and generous. However, the child will constantly be at war with this need for love and affection, and will act it out in ways that cause displeasure in the parents, and leads to more shame for the child.

Another way in which shame is brought about in children is if the parents do not allow the child to have negative feelings. If the child is never allowed to say “no”, or the parents respond only when the child is in a positive, happy mood, the child will learn that negative feelings are shameful and that he or she is shameful and bad for having them. According to the author, parents tend to punish their children by allowing their shame and disgust to show themselves, thus causing doubt and shame in the child over his or her actions. Children do occasionally feel hostility and aggression towards their parents, and unless they are allowed to express this, shame will be the resulting response.

Chapter 19: A New Generation of Critics: The Findings Contested

In this chapter, Karen addresses some of the criticisms of the attachment theories, and discusses the critics’ own ideas. One of the more well-noted critics of attachment theory, Jerome Kagan, felt that many people used not being securely attached or being rejected by their mother as an excuse for incompetence. He also felt that even if attachment theory does prove to be correct, he believed that the Strange Situation test did not measure it accurately. Kagan believes that attachment theory is a product of our times and our culture and that developmental psychology should not be based on it. Kagan’s studies focused on the importance of genes over the early environment in shaping the child’s personality.

The chapter then goes on to focus on the findings of Bowlby and how they compare with Kagan’s work. Bowlby saw anxious attachment in the first year of life as a liability for the child, but he didn’t see it as something that couldn’t be overcome. Instead, he saw this attachment as an “escalating pattern of negativity” in which the child and the mother feed off of each other in increasingly negative ways. Bowlby also felt that the child used this relationship with the mother as a model for all future relationships, and that those children who experienced negative first relationships would tend to have more negative relationships as a whole.

This chapter also describes how a change in attachment style of a child usually indicates some other kind of change in their life, such as a father leaving, or a single mother forming a steady and stable relationship with another man. Kagan argued that if the child’s attachment style could change, then what was the point of pinpointing the first year as so crucial and important to the child’s overall personality and relationships.

Another developmental psychologist, Alan Sroufe, argues against Kagan’s findings with his own research. According to Sroufe, even children who undergo changes in their original attachment style, will still reflect the original, particularly in times of stress. Later studies of the original Strange Situation infants at ages 20-22, revealed a 69% correlation to their original attachment pattern, and the percentage was even higher when other circumstances were taken into consideration.

This chapter also discusses the work of Klaus and Karin Grossmann, who replicated Ainsworth’s study on babies in Germany. The Grossmann’s original findings seemed to indicate cultural differences because they had much higher rates of anxious and avoidant babies. However, after further research and study, they concluded, that regardless of cultural norms or standards, any parenting that leads to avoidant attachment styles is harmful.

The chapter concludes by stating that Ainsworth’s original study was never replicated sufficiently, which she would have liked it to have been, but that other parts of it were, and the findings seemed to be consistent.

Part IV: Give Parents a Break! Nature-Nurture Erupts Anew

Chapter 20: Born That Way? Stella Chess and the Difficult Child

In this chapter, Karen acknowledges that because of the enormous influx of information, most of it contradictory, regarding parenting and child rearing, many parents, mothers in particular, began to feel insecure about their parenting abilities. This insecurity in how to deal with their children led to increased problems in raising children. This chapter also focuses on the work of Stella Chess, who along with her husband Alexander Thomas, and their colleague Herbert Birch, developed the New York Longitudinal Study in the mid-1950s to determine how important infant temperament is in contributing to later problems.

In determining the temperaments of the infants, Chess and the others found nine variables that seemed to be important: activity level, rhythmicity, approach or withdrawal, adaptability, intensity of reaction, threshold of responsiveness, quality of mood, distractability, and attention span and persistence. Using these nine characteristics, Chess and her colleagues came up with four categories of infant temperament: “difficult babies”, which made up 10% of their subjects, “slow to warm up”, which accounted for 15%, “easy babies”, which were 40%, and mixed, which accounted for 35% of their infants studied.

Chess and her colleagues also determined that in dealing with a difficult baby, parents must be patient and consistent as well as firm with their child. Slow to warm up babies need patient acceptance and nurturing, and need to not feel pressure to do things before they feel ready. Chess felt that there can be poor fits between parenting styles and children’s temperaments, which will lead to problems if adjustments aren’t made. Chess further concluded that environment and inborn temperament interact with each other continuously, and that different children have different parenting needs. Parents need to be able to adjust themselves to their child’s needs.

Chapter 21: Renaissance of Biological Determinism: The Temperament Debate

In this chapter, Karen begins by saying that neither Bowlby nor Ainsworth felt that an inborn temperament accounted for much in the child’s attachment style or personality. He also goes on to describe cases of identical twins who were separated at birth who have amazingly similar character traits, which could only be because of heredity.

This chapter also describes Kagan’s work with what Chess labeled “slow to warm up” children. Kagan found that these inherently shy, timid, and fearful children were reluctant to play with others, played more often by themselves, and became more anxious when unfamiliar events occurred. Kagan also found that as these children grew older, these traits stayed with them, and these were the children who were reluctant to sleep over at friends’ houses, go to summer camp, and to engage in other new experiences. He also felt that these children were the ones who would grow up to select jobs with very little risk or stress involved.

Although Kagan stresses the importance of inborn temperament on children, in recent years he has come to also recognize the importance of environmental factors as well. Kagan and other behavior geneticists focus on temperament as a means of determining how different children respond differently to certain situations, and they believe that in doing so, that more people will start to realize that people are born differently and that everyone should be tolerated and accepted as they are. Kagan also believes that by focusing more on temperament, mothers who have been made to feel guilty for something wrong with their parenting styles, will realize that not everything depends on this.

This chapter also discusses how the two sides have started to move more towards each other, and that both are gradually acknowledging the merits of the other side. This interactionist view has also been supported by studies conducted on both humans and other primates.

Although many developmentalists are starting to recognize the contributions of both sides, Sroufe argues that temperament does not play a part in attachment. He states cases that some children are attached differently to each parent, quality of attachment can change, and that depressed or anxious mothers almost always have anxious babies, with a gradual decline noticeable in all. Sroufe argues that most of the temperament research has been based on parents’ observations and recollections of their own children, which almost always greatly differs from neutral observations.

This chapter also discusses the work and research of Dymphna van den Boom of the Netherlands, who felt that attachment theory failed to recognize the inborn temperaments of children. Van den Boom’s studies showed that mothers who had difficult children often gave up and became frustrated with their children, but that after being taught how to soothe their child, they would be able to comfort them. After a year of this intervention, 68% of these difficult babies were securely attached, while only 28% of the control group were similarly attached.

Chapter 22: A Rage in the Nursery: The Infant Day-Care Wars

In this chapter, Karen discusses the continuing debate over the harmfulness of day-care on young children. He begins his discussion by first stating Bowlby’s opinion: that day-care is detrimental to all children and that if anyone should be taking care of children, it is their own parents. Bowlby goes on to say that if the parents are unable to care for the child during the day, then a nanny should be provided for one-on-one care. This nanny should be pretty much permanent and should stay until the child is old enough to leave. According to Bowlby, whose own children were raised this way, this is the most effective way to care for children, and the nanny must stay this long in order to avoid a painful separation. Bowlby believes that in the absence of the parents, the nanny becomes the primary caregiver to the child and that the main attachment is now between the nanny and child, rather than a parent and the child.

Karen goes on to refute this argument with research that shows that if the parents are responsive and loving towards the child, then no one else will take their place as the primary caregiver. Karen also develops the idea that as more and more mothers are working, which was the case in the 1970s and 1980s, these mothers were made to feel guilty for not being at home with their children, and they were made to feel that they were often unfit parents.

As the debate over the effects of day-care heated up, Jay Belsky became the new spokesman for the idea that day-care can be detrimental to some children. Although Belsky started out somewhat neutral in his opinions, his ideas were soon attacked and forced to the extreme. Belsky originally stated that any more than 20 hours of day-care for a child under one year old led to more anxiously attached children, supporters of day-care and working moms, notably Sandra Scarr, attacked Belsky’s conclusions as anti-woman and biased towards his own child rearing practices. (Belsky’s wife stayed home to raise their two sons).

This chapter goes on to argue about the merits of the Strange Situation in testing the attachment of children in day-care. Some developmentalists argue that children in day-care are accustomed to their parents leaving, as well as interacting more with strangers, whereas others argue that the test shouldn’t be used at all because it was developed for 18 month old children with no research on how the test works with older or younger children.

This chapter also discusses the differences in day-cares and how they might affect the results. Some day-cares have high children to adult ratios, while others have pretty low ones. Some day-cares have better more stable staffs, as well as more resources and, in general, are better. All of these aspects play a part in assessing how much the day-care will effect the attachment of the children that go there. The quality of the day-care remains the most important factor in determining how it will effect the children attending.

The chapter concludes by noting that many developmentalists realize that day-cares do offer many advantages to children, after they are a year old. For toddlers and older children, day-care, even full time day-care, as long as it is quality, will allow the child many opportunities for social, emotional, and cognitive growth and development. Karen also notes that the poor have an especially difficult time with this because they are forced to work, but also have less access to good day-care.

Chapter 23: Astonishing Attunements: The Unseen Emotional Life of Babies

In this chapter, Karen begins by discussing all of the studies done on newborn infants and how researchers have found that newborns, at around 8 days old, prefer their mother’s milk smell over someone else’s, that they prefer the sound of human voices over other sounds, and prefer the sound of their mother’s voice over all sounds, and that they also prefer to look at human faces over other shapes.

Karen goes on to describe how researchers have found that infancy and early childhood is a synchronized interplay between the child and the mother. He goes on to describe how parents can be too intrusive on infants, and that one of the telltale signs of an invasion on an infant is that the baby will turn its head. Researchers have also found that mothers should match their intensity and tempo to the infants’, and that if this isn’t done then the child will experience confusion and attempt to modify its expressions.

Research in the 1970s showed that babies look to their mothers for affirmation of their feelings, to participate with their play, and to echo the baby’s feelings. Babies will also look to their mothers for clues about how to react to an unusual occurrence. If the mother shows fear, the baby will most likely be scared, and if the mother responds positively, the baby will also react positively.

The researchers have also shown that language helps to tell the child what to feel, how to play with something, what they should be interested in, and many other subtle distinctions. By saying things that contradict what the baby is actually feeling, parents are teaching the child to hide these feelings, to lie about them, and also which feelings are acceptable to express.

In the conclusion of this chapter, Karen addresses Winnicott’s idea of the “good-enough mother” and the “transitional object”. The “good-enough mother” is Winnicott’s idea that no mother can or should be perfect. He feels that a perfect mother would only make the child incapable of breaking away at any time. A “transitional object”, usually a teddy bear or a blanket, is used when children feel that they are no longer the most important thing to their parent. When the mother finally establishes some independence from the child, the child has a hard time dealing with this and turns to an inanimate object for love and autonomy. Through the transitional object, the child deals with this pulling away by the mother, and Winnicott feels that parents should model their behaviors about the object from the child’s behaviors.

Part V: The Legacy of Attachment in Adult Life

Chapter 24: The Residue of Our Parents: Passing on Insecure Attachment

In this chapter, Karen discusses the idea that parents inadvertently pass on their attachment styles with their own parents to their children in how they deal with them in certain situations. This chapter relies heavily on research done by Mary Main, known as the Berkeley Adult Attachment Interview. In this interview, Main asked the adults to describe their childhoods, to describe their early relationships with their parents, and to give detailed accounts of the things they described.

In her research, Main identified three types of adult attachment: “secure-autonomous”, “dismissing of attachment”, and “pre-occupied with early attachments”. The secure-autonomous parents were able to recall accurately their childhoods, they remembered them as being very happy – they were believable in their portrayal of their parents, usually had one secure attachment with a parent, and they were able to be objective about the pros and cons of their parents’ parenting styles. These parents could also have had unhappy attachments as children, but in their adulthood, were able to recognize this and understood it. They had worked through this and were now free to form secure attachments with people other than parents, including their own children. Children of secure-autonomous parents had been rated securely attached in their first year by a great majority.

The second type of adult attachment, the dismissing of attachment, seemed to be uncomfortable discussing emotional issues in their childhood. These adults were incapable of taking attachment issues seriously. The dismissing of attachment adults also tended to idealize one or both of their parents, but when questioned further, could provide no proof or memory of this. They often tended to remember incidents that directly contradicted this. These dismissing adults seemed to deny their emotional selves, and as a result almost three quarters of their children were avoidantly attached to them.

The third category that Main describes of adult attachment is adults pre-occupied with early attachments. These adults seemed to still be hurt from problems in their childhood, and they were often still angry about these problems. These adults were often childlike in their descriptions, and failed to recognize their own role in any relationship they formed. These adults tended to remember childhoods where they were intensely trying to please their parents, or where they tried to parent the adults. Their memories were often confused and disoriented. These parents’ children were overwhelmingly ambivalently attached to them.

Chapter 25: Attachment in Adulthood: The Secure Base vs. The Desperate Child Within

In this chapter, Karen further discusses attachment in adulthood. He describes how in a lecture that Bowlby gave, he depicted that attachments are important not only for relationships in later life, but also for the entire quality of life. According to Bowlby, people are more confident and secure in their overall lives if they know they have someone standing behind them.

This chapter also describes research conducted by Roger Kobak on the attachment styles of teenagers. Kobak found that teens going off to college could be grouped into similar categories by using the Adult Attachment Interview. Kobak concluded that secure teens were more capable of handling conflicts with their parents, that they were more assertive, and also had an easier transition in going to college. Once at college, these securely attached teens were viewed as better able to cope with stress. Another category of teens, the dismissing students, had trouble remembering experiences from their early childhood, and played down the importance of attachment. These students were seen as more hostile, condescending, and distant by their peers. The third category, the preoccupied students, were seen as anxious, introspective, and ruminative by their fellow students. These teens were angry and incoherent when discussing attachment with their parents.

The chapter also discusses how there might be a problem with Main’s classification system in comparison with the childhood attachment systems. The major problem with Main’s system is that it attempts to define a person as one of three styles, whereas the childhood attachment classifications look only at relationships. It is harder to concretely define a person as being one way or another in terms of all their relationships and personality characteristics. Arietta Slade argues that Main’s system doesn’t allow for how people react differently to different people. It only allows people to be one way all the time, which as Slade says, “doesn’t jibe with clinical experience”. Nobody is one way all of the time with all people.

This chapter also demonstrates how people with certain attachment styles tend to develop certain psychological disturbances. Karen concludes that the problems of the anxiously attached person are relevant to everyone.

Chapter 26: Repetition and Change: Working Through Insecure Attachment

In this chapter, Karen begins by describing how in his work with patients, Freud noticed that many of his patients would respond to him as they would to a parent or some other important early figure. Karen also notes that this “transference” applies not only to therapy, but to all relationships as well.

Karen also states that Harry Stack Sullivan believed that as children we develop different senses of self for each significant relationship, and that as we get older we tend to use these different selves to relate to different people. Freud also believed that we tend to seek out people who are similar to those that we have had previous relationships with. If a person has an unsatisfying relationship with a parent, they will often seek in a mate someone who is just like that parent in an attempt to get the relationship right. People seem to try and try again to get through the problems of early childhood attachment by choosing a mate that is similar to the parent that the problem was with. People will keep trying until they get it right in one relationship or another.

This chapter also discusses how, in looking at secure-autonomous adults, it is important to remember that, although most of these people did not have perfect parents or perfect relationships with their parents, they were able to work through this later in life. Evidence shows that there are three ways in which people can overcome these poor relationships with a main parent: having a loving, supportive relationship early in childhood (other than a parent), undergoing some kind of therapy in later life, or being in a supportive relationship with a stable mate.

According to research, each of these three factors can help a person move into the secure-autonomous classification. If a young child has someone else that they can turn to, other than a parent, then they will likely tend to model all of their future relationships based on this relationship instead of a failed parental one. Through therapy, as well, most adults can work out their anger and confusion over having not had the type of relationship with their caregivers that they know is possible. With therapy, these people are able to finally have a secure and trusting relationship that they will be able to look to for a model. The last variable, having a stable, loving relationship with a spouse, will also serve to break the cycle of emotional damage. Through a stable and perseverant spouse, an adult will eventually learn to trust him or her and find the strength he or she needs to unlearn the problematic relationships with parents.

In concluding this chapter, Karen discusses how no one has a perfect childhood, and that it is good to reflect on both the positives and negatives of any relationship. He feels that people should fully experience all of the wounds that they suffered in childhood, but should also learn to let them go and to not hang on to them. He also focuses on how no one can change the childhood that they had, but rather everyone needs to come to terms with it in some way. By putting the past in the past, we are better able to form successful and meaningful relationships with our spouses and our peers, and thus break the intergenerational cycle that seems so prevalent in most studies.

Part VI: The Odyssey of an Idea

Chapter 27: Avoidant Society: Cultural Roots of Anxious Attachment

In this chapter, Karen offers a conclusion to his book by looking at how society has changed, particularly American society, and the ways in which attachment has changed as a result. He begins by looking at pre-industrial society and notes that people rarely left their town or village, and families stayed together for the entire lives of their members. Because of the closeness of families, mothers had help in raising their children from their parents, siblings, cousins, and so on. This gave the mother a chance to take a break every now and then, and also allowed the infant to experience other adults and other relationships. Karen noted that people did not move around that much, and it wasn’t until after the Industrial Revolution and much later, namely after the 1970s, that people began to move so much.

He feels that this is detrimental to everyone because it tends to lessen the sense of community for all people, and no one is as willing to get to know their neighbors or to help them. Karen also feels that the pace of life is diminishing society too. He believes that people now are more fast paced and goal-oriented, and that this is affecting how children are being raised, and consequently their attachment styles. Parents put more and more pressure on their children at earlier and earlier ages, and this is becoming detrimental to the children.

As an example of a model society, Jean Liedloff looked at the Yequana, a stone-age tribe in South America. The Yequana mothers carry their babies with them everywhere, and are constantly available to comfort and nurture them. Liedloff, in studying the Yequana, came to question American society as a whole, especially child rearing practices. She advocated that mothers not work during the first year of the infant’s life, to always hold the baby close to the body, to sleep with the baby at night, and to respond immediately to every cry. Although her ideas are somewhat difficult to incorporate into everyday American society, some of them are taking hold and revolutionizing how parents in the United States and other developed countries raise their children.

In the remaining part of this chapter, Karen discusses the ways in which poverty affects children. He believes that the United States should implement more social programs to ensure that children are given proper care and love at the most crucial times. He feels that through preventative programs that would provide universal child care, provide parents with wagers to fund their children’s care, and many more, the United States would actually be saving money in the long run when compared with money spent for welfare and prison and other programs.

Chapter 28: Looking Back: Bowlby and Ainsworth

In the final chapter of his book, Karen offers a closing to the life of John Bowlby, who dies on September 2, 1990. He tells about his final book, which was a biography of Charles Darwin and depicts the ways that the two renowned thinkers were similar in their early childhood wounds. Karen also tells a little bit about the personality of Bowlby, who although well known for his attachment theory, was not interested in knowing what made people tick, according to his wife Ursula. This chapter also tells how Bowlby’s friends and colleagues remembered him, and relates the struggles of his professional life. Although his work was criticized at first, Bowlby had the satisfaction of seeing almost all of his ideas become widely accepted, by all but the supporters of Melanie Klein. Karen also discusses how Bowlby’s ideas have reinvented ideas about child rearing and have led to important changes in social programs in many societies, including the United States.

In this chapter, Karen also discusses Mary Ainsworth’s contribution to the attachment theory, namely that of the Strange Situation. This chapter discusses Ainsworth’s life and her friends, and Karen says that through her two now-famous longitudinal studies, Ainsworth was the first to bring attachment theory into the field. According to Karen, Ainsworth was instrumental in introducing Bowlby’s ideas to developmental psychologists. Karen also notes that Ainsworth’s ideas were attacked early on, but that she never felt justified in receiving awards. Ainsworth admitted that she suffered from low self-esteem, and whenever an idea was attacked, she felt that maybe she wasn’t worthwhile because of it. Ainsworth, unlike Bowlby, never felt comfortable in the spotlight, and sought only to get her ideas out to the public, and not herself. She never sought publicity for herself, merely for her ideas.

Karen concludes the chapter and his book by looking at how attachment theory has developed and changed, and all of the aspects that still need to be researched. In order for there to be universal acceptance of attachment theory and the ideas behind it, Karen believes that much more research will need to be done, particularly on children older than one year. Karen also looks at how much attachment theory has already been proven or believed to be true, and looks at how far acceptance of the idea has come from the beginnings with Bowlby and Ainsworth. Karen concludes by saying that in our society, many people do not want to look at attachment as playing such a pivotal role in our lives, simply because we value other things: achievement, power, acquisition, and so on, but that doesn’t mean that the role of security and love and attachment is any less important just because we choose not to notice it.

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