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ATTACHMENT THEORY
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    The Origins of Attachment Theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth

    Inge Bretherton

    Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991 ). Drawing on concepts from ethology, cybernetics, information processing, developmental psychology, and psychoanalysts, John Bowlby formulated the basic tenets of the theory. He thereby revolutionized our thinking about a child’s tie to the mother and its disruption through separation, deprivation, and bereavement. Mary Ainsworth’s innovative methodology not only made it possible to test some of Bowlby’s ideas empirically hut also helped expand the theory itself and is responsible for some of the new directions it is now taking. Ainsworth contributed the concept of the attachment figure as a secure base from which an infant can explore the world. In addition, she formulated the concept of maternal sensitivity to infant signals and its role in the development of infant-mother attachment patterns.

     

     

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    What Attachment Parenting is Not

    Attachment parenting gets discussed as a new theory on parenting when it is really doing what feels natural for parents and baby. Attachment parenting is loving and attentive parenting but is nothing close to spoiling a child. The idea behind attachment parenting is that you get to intimately understand your child to appropriately encourage and discipline them as they grow up.

     

    It is not a New Style of Parenting.

     

    Attachment parenting is one of the oldest ways of caring for babies. In fact, it’s the way that parents for centuries have taken care of babies, until childcare advisors came on the scene and led parents to follow books instead of their babies. Picture your family on a deserted island and you’ve just delivered a baby. There are no books, advisors, or in-laws around to shower you with baby-tending advice. The baby B’s of attachment parenting would come naturally to you as they have other cultures who have centuries more child-rearing experience and tradition than all of us have.

     

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    The Fourth Trimester – AKA Why Your Newborn Baby is Only Happy in Your Arms

    Sarah Ockwell-Smith

    If I had a pound every time I heard  these from a new parent I’d be a very rich lady by now! What amazes me though is that society in general doesn’t get it, they don’t get why so many babies need to be held by us to settle and what perplexes me even more is that we do spend so long trying to put them down! We spend more than time though, the ‘putting babies down’ industry is  worth millions, rocking cribs, battery swings, vibrating chairs, heartbeat teddies and the list goes on………………having been a first time parent who bought all four of the items listed above I am embarrased to admit now it honestly didn’t enter into my head that perhaps the answer was to *not* put my baby down and I certainly didn’t consider why these things might help. It took me a long time to understand and empathise with my baby, to see the world through his eyes so to speak.

     

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    The Chemistry of Attachment

    Melanie Mayo-Laakso

    Human babies are born helpless, needing to be entirely cared for and protected. Luckily, they are born with all the necessary tools and “instructions” to attain such care for themselves, and to become a loved and loving part of their family and society. The ingrained neural and hormonal interactions provided for parent and child to assist them in this process are among the most powerful in nature. The hormonal cues are clear and compelling and our instincts can provide us with all the appropriate responses. Without taking great efforts to avoid and ignore such urges, parents will naturally follow the advice of their neurons and hormones, nurturing their babies and maintaining physical closeness with them. - Once born, baby’s hormonal control systems and brain synapses begin to permanently organize according to the human interactions she experiences. Unneeded brain receptors and neural pathways are disposed of, while those appropriate to the given environment are enhanced.

     

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    Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say

    Alvin Powell

    America's "let them cry" attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

     

    Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they'll feel safe, according to Michael L. Commons and Patrice M. Miller, researchers at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.

     

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    Benefits of Babywearing

    Babywearing International

    Medical professionals agree that infants thrive through touch; “wearing” your baby is another way to meet this need. The benefits of babywearing don’t end there … babywearing offers many other advantages, some of which include:

     

    Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours.

     

Media Resources

Allan Schore Neurobiology of Secure Attachment

Jon G. Allen, PhD, on What We All Need to Know About Attachment

Gordon Neufeld: The Importance of Attachment

Dr. Allan Schore on how to help children regulate their emotional states

Dr. Allan Schore on attachment trauma and the effects of neglect and abuse on the brain

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