Infancy and Early Childhood

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Infancy and Early Childhood Stages
University of Phoenix
Queanna Booth, Marilyn Lee,
Virginia Ortega, Shniqua Smith, Linda Van

Scholars note the important role that attachment plays in the development of an infant. Mary Ainsworth, a pioneer in the study of attachment describes attachment as an emotional bond between persons who binds them through space and time. Attachment is the basis for social skills. (As stated by Vaughn) According to Vaughn, through loving interactions between infants and parents and through parents understanding their infant's unique needs and temperament, attachment is developed. As infants interact with caregivers, they are building the foundation of their emotional and social abilities. The relationship between the parent and child is influences the infants' social abilities. How secure that relationship is will have a persuasion on the rest of the child's life.

The physical impact of neglect and bonding during the developmental stages of infancy and early childhood can be positive and negative. Neglect has a negative physical effect on childhood development in the event that the child is unable to form attachments. In order for attachment to develop normally, there are crucial periods during which bonding experiences must be present. The lack of attachment causes mild interpersonal discomfort to profound social and emotional problems. As stated by Perry, Runyan, and Sturges (1996).

Bonding has a positive effect on childhood development. According to Perry et al. (1996) Holding, gazing, smiling, kissing, singing and laughing all cause specific neurochemical activities in the brain. These neurochemical activities lead to normal organization of the brain systems, which are responsible for attachment. Problems with bonding and attachment can lead to a fragile biological and emotional foundation for future relationships. Neglect and bonding are particularly important focuses of attention for three reasons. First, neglect is the most prevalent type of all forms of maltreatment. Second, neglect results in more harm to children than physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional mistreatment. Third, neglect has been the focus of less research attention, in part, because of definitional problems than physical and sexual abuse. During pregnancy, birth and beyond, if not interfered with, nature locks the mother and baby's biorhythms, heart frequencies, hormonal balances, sleep patterns and a thousand other living systems into reciprocal bonded patterns. The baby provides the precise stimulus for mother to open and develop new capacities, and mother does the same for her baby. Their language is nonverbal because of sensation and feeling. Nature assumes this bond will develop and places baby close to the mother's body and breast for just this reason, and for an extended time. Interfering with this close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact prevents a vital exchange of sensory experiences, nutrients and information required for normal and healthy brain development. The absence of what one calls bonding is neglect and abuse. Single parent families, and euphemism for single moms, without the support, mentoring, and nurturing of extended families and communities, routinely place the majority of infants and young children in institutional childcare for extended periods, shortly after birth. Lack of initial bonding, institutional childcare, and social pressures, such as work schedules and welfare reform prevent most mothers from bonding with and breast-feeding their babies. Neglect is the lack of parental bonding and care. During the stages of infancy and early childhood development, the child desperately needs bonding experiences with the parental figure. According to Harlow, infants who are comforted during the first year of life, later, depend upon parents for security in life experiences (University of Phoenix, 2008, p.48).

Harlow and Erik Erikson both agree on the importance...
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