Reflection: Psychology and Newman

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Running Head: THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED AS A DOG REFLECTION

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The Boy Who Raised as a Dog Reflection Lauren University of La Verne

ACSD 550 Human Development Janet Trotter February 13, 2013

THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED AS A DOG REFLECTION The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog Reflection

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My understanding of attachment prior to reading the book The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog was what I had learned from the text Development Through Life : A Psychosocial Approach. Newman and Newman (2012) define attachment as the process through which people develop specific, positive emotional bonds with others. During the stage of Infancy it is important to develop an attachment with one’s caregiver not only for the brain to develop properly but also for the development of relationships later on in life. Newman and Newman (2012) also point out that there is a difference between the presence of an attachment and the quality of that attachment. In other words, if there is a caregiver available to interact with an infant an attachment will be formed. However, the quality of that interaction and the way the infant responds can develop into certain patterns of attachment. According to Newman and Newman (2012) there are four different patterns of attachment: 1)secure attachment, 2) anxious-avoidant attachment, 3)anxiousresistant attachment, and 4) disorganized attachment. The differences in the quality of that attachment can be accounted for by four factors: 1) cultural and subcultural pathway, 2) the caregiver’s personal life story, 3)contemporary factors, and 4) characteristics of the infant. (Newman & Newman, 2012). I feel that after reading the book The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog I have a much better understanding of just how important it is to establish a sense of trust with the caregiver during infancy for the healthy development of the brain. In Chapter 5 “The Coldest Heart” Dr. Perry tells the story of Leon who brutally kills and rapes two young girls. He delves deeper into the brain of Leon and his underlying family story to reveal how Leon’s early childhood trauma left his brain underdeveloped in some parts and overdeveloped in others. I was able to apply what I

THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED AS A DOG REFLECTION learned from the text to analyze the situation of Leon and found that he had developed either an anxious-resistant attachment due to his mothers inconsistent responses or disorganized attachment shown by his serious mental health problems. Leon was not able to form a strong attachment during infancy due to his mother Maria not having a strong supportive social network to

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help her when she needed it. Maria, Leon’s mother also was mentally impaired which shows how the caregiver’s personal life story can affect that of an infant. Leon was born with a difficult temperament which may have been even more overwhelming for Maria who along with her mental impairment also had another son to take care of with no help from the father who was away at work. She was not aware of the needs of an infant and left him completely alone all day with no stimulation or comfort to his cries. Perry and Szalavitz (2006) states that neglect in early childhood can disrupt the development of the areas in the brain that control empathy and the ability to engage in healthy relationships--a loss that often leaves people awkward, lonely and socially inept. Emotional deprivation in the first years of life however, can also predispose people to malice or misanthropy (Perry & Szalavitz, 2006). The early neglect of Leon led him to establish a strong mistrust of humankind. The family grew up in a devastated inner-city neighborhood filled with crime and drug use, which shows just how greatly poverty can affect ones development as well. Newman and Newman (2012) state that Mother’s educational attainment is strongly associated with their children’s vocabulary and school achievement. They go on to explain how poverty has lasting consequences for adult...
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