Positive Attachment

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The first 18 months of life is filled with amazing and rapid changes for parents and infants across every aspect of human development. At the stage of infancy the influence of a positive attachment can enrich an infant’s behavioural development (Peterson 2010, pp.140-150). Erikson (cited in Peterson 2010, p.51) theorises that to mould a positive attachment an infant must achieve a balance of the psychosocial stage of ‘trust versus mistrust’. The achievement of this stage combined with the infant’s environment, social arena, and how infants see themselves as individuals is dependant on a positive attachment. With an understanding of Erikson’s theory and knowledge of attachment principals a nurse can help parents achieve this stage of infancy. This essay will concentrate on the correlation between Erikson’s theory and what achieves a positive attachment with infants. Also how a nurse’s intervention can help parents adapt methods to achieve a positive attachment with their infant.

Erikson assembled eight stages of human development that ‘remain within the proper rate and proper sequence which govern the growth of personality’ (Erikson 1959, p. 52). In other words, a person cannot advance to the next stage of development without achieving a balance of conflict with the one before. The first stage is between birth to eighteen months, of ‘trust versus mistrust’ (Peterson 2010, p. 51) and is described as a time of potential ‘crisis’ for an infant (Erikson 1959, p, 50). During this stage an infant battles with inner conflict within himself, which is slowly developed into a balance of self and trust. Caregivers have the responsibility to guide infants toward a successful balance of conflict so they are competent to advance to Erikson’s next stage of ‘autonomy versus shame and doubt’ (Peterson 2010, p. 51).

It is important to define positive attachment as the ‘trusting relationship’ ( that forms during infancy, usually with the primary caregiver. This secure...
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