John Bowlby

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In the introduction to one of his many books, John Bowlby quotes Graham Greene; ‘Unhappiness in a child accumulates because he sees no end to the dark tunnel. The thirteen weeks of a term may just as well be thirteen years.’ It is quite clear that John’s childhood was not a happy one. He experienced many years of separation from family and it can be connected as to why he developed the theory of attachment. Edward John Mostyn Bowlby, known as John Bowlby, was born in 1907 in London as the fourth of six children. His parents were Sir Anthony Bowlby and Lady May Bowlby. John Bowlby was from an upper class wealthy family. They raised their children to be strong with strict discipline. Showing signs of affections or emotions were looked to be a sign of weakness. His father was a surgeon and was gone most of the time and only saw his children on Sundays. His father also served in WWI, so was absent for quite some time. Bowlby’s mother was not active in her son’s life. She, like most upper class woman, thought that spending time with the child or showing affection towards the child would spoil them. Bowlby, therefore, only saw his mother for a short time each day. It seemed that the only time he was able to spend with her was after dinner during tea time ("John Bowlby- Child and Adolescent," 2006). She has been described as being cold and reacted to his needs in the very opposite way that one would expect a mother to. John and his siblings were raised by a nanny, which was common within the upper class. The nanny was there until he was 4 and then left. John was sent to boarding school when he was seven. He later went to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He decided at one point that military school was not for him and attended Trinity College in Cambridge. He studied medicine, which eventually lead him to studying psychology and graduating in 1928. While studying his psychology at Trinity he took time off, spending six...
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