Do Parents Matter

Topics: Attachment theory, John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth Pages: 8 (2628 words) Published: February 6, 2011
Do Parents Matter

Within today’s society and the way the family is portrayed within the media, the family life has changed considerably. The family setup and how parents now discipline their children and their skills to do so, have come under attack. With the increase of children committing crimes and anti social behaviour orders being handed out like sweets its seems that almost everyone is looking for someone to blame for the up rise in bad behaviour with the children of our country. There has been blame pointed at the lack of discipline given out by the courts, the television and media, how family’s are structured in today’s society’ compared to years ago and the majority of blame lies with the parents. This essay will look at “Do parents matter” as this is a huge issue and has vast implications I am going to look at the issue of Divorce. I will be looking at the theories of attachment and separation and how children who are involved with divorce cope and if the issue of gender, culture or ethnicity differs ahead to the outcome of “Do Parents Matter” The government’s reports that roughly 50% of all marriages in today’s society fail, reasons for the failure include poor communication or lack of communication, financial issues and even the circumstances of the marriage all contribute to the ending of what once seemed the perfect relationship. Within these failed marriages are children, confused and unsure of what the future holds for them. Unsure of how to deal with the split, having to choose which parent to leave behind and which parent to stay at residence with, decisions like these can cause trauma within certain children, thus the question is raised “Do parents matter?” According to John Bowlby, Attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure. John Bowlby devoted extensive research to the concept of attachment, describing it as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings" Bowlby shared the psychoanalytic view that early experiences in childhood have an important influence on development and behaviour later in life. Our early attachment styles are established in childhood through the infant/caregiver relationship. In addition to this, Bowlby believed that attachment had an evolutionary component, it aids in survival. "The propensity to make strong emotional bonds to particular individuals is a basic component of human nature" (Bowlby, 1988) Bowlby believed that there are four distinguishing characteristics of attachment: Proximity Maintenance - The desire to be near the people we are attached to. Safe Haven - Returning to the attachment figure for comfort and safety in the face of a fear or threat. Secure Base - The attachment figure acts as a base of security from which the child can explore the surrounding environment. Separation Distress - Anxiety that occurs in the absence of the attachment figure. With James Robertson he identified three stages of separation response amongst children, Protest to the mother figure for re-attachment (related to separation anxiety) Despair and pain at the loss of the mother figure despite repeated protests for re-establishment for relationship. (related to grief and mourning), and Detachment or denial of affection to the mother-figure. (related to defence). These phases are universally seen in children who go through separation, either by loss of parent/s due to death, divorce or through boarding school. Bowlby identified that infants need one special relationship for internal development. "No variables have more far-reaching effects on personality development than a child's experiences within the family. Starting during his first months in his relation to both parents, he builds up working models of how attachment figures are likely to behave towards him in any of a variety of situations, and on all those models are based all his expectations, and therefore all his plans, for the rest of his...
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