Role Of Early Childhood Experience On Attachment Psychology Essay

ABSTRACT

Attachment theory provides a frame work that understands an individual’s happiness system. How happy can an individual is can be understood from the attachment style they had with their parents. There are many factors that contribute in an individual being happy but the main focus here would be the parent – child relationship which affects the child’s social relationship, the development of emotions regulations and cognitive development. The presence of these factors would enable a child to become to matured adult with a positive and happy mind.

Happiness is a positive feeling and positive activities that people engage in their daily life. One of the founders on positive psychology who speaks about happiness is Dr.Martin Seligman. According to Dr.Martin Seligman a happy life would be a life that is filled with positive emotions as well as feelings. Happiness is based on what degree of life experience a person undergoes and how content are they with life. Hence happiness is a very important factor in life as happiness helps an individual live longer. A study on nuns revealed the followings. At the age of 85, 90% of the nuns with cheerful biographies (top 25%) was still alive, compared to just 54% of the least cheerful. At 94 years of age, 54% of the most cheerful quarter was alive compared to only 11% of the least cheerful. A matured adult with a positive and happy mind would have a life of peace and contentment. Thus happiness is closely related to early attachment. The need to establish close bond is a basic human characteristics ( Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Bowlby, 1969, 1973 ; Maslow 1962; Sullivan,1953). The achievement of close bond has been found to improve physical well being and improved mental health .The types of attachment style that a child has during childhood helps understand the level of happiness that they experience. Parent – child interaction plays an important role in the child later development in life ranging on emotions such as happiness, Cognition and being optimism and self worth (Bowly, 1980; Mikulincer, Florian, & Weller, 1993; McIntyre & Dusek, 1995; Strage, 1998). According to the attachment theory, the ability of the parents to secure bond with the child affects the child’s approach on how the child views the world. Thus when the child has a close bond with the parents the child is able to explore, develops the feeling of confidence as well as the child would learn how to interact socially. ( Bretherton & Waters, 1995). Research has concluded that a secure bond last well into adolescence and adulthood (Strage, 1998).

Three types of attachment style would be secure attachment; this attachment is when the mother is sensitive and responsive towards the child’s need. This attachment develops a child’s self confidence and independence.

The second attachment style is the Avoidant attachment style, when the mother rejects or avoids the child’s need for conform and contact. Although these children tend to show normal behavior this behavior would motivate the child to avoid the mother compared to a true behavior to explore. The Ambivalent attachment style, this is when the mother is inconsistent in meeting the child’s need for contact and comfort, sometimes having contact and other times ignoring the child. Hence the child then would become fearful and anxious, more concerned on becoming attach to the mother. The outcome would be the child would be dependent on the mother, low in self-confidence and inhibited.

Problem Statement

A secure attachment style can be formed later on in life, where when a child did not develop a secure bond with the parent – child relationship there are possibilities that the child may have met someone reliable who is able to help the child bond socially as well as emotionally with others. For example the child may view an uncle as a father by gaining love, attention, comfort and security to feel secure in bonding with other people. These not only focuses on people relationship but as well have the tendency to explore environmentally. Attachment style of the child can also be affected by all those people who come in contact with the child during their childhood for example the babysitter, teacher and friends. For example the child may have a good bond and relationship with the parent hence coming in contact with a babysitter who takes care of the child 10 hours a day provokes the child to develop a stronger sense of attachment towards the babysitter compared to the child’s parent.

Research Question.

Are individuals happier as they have a good attachment style which in turn is caused by good parenting style?

Does a good attachment style allow the child to have good emotional regulation?

How Optimism does promote a variety of benefits in allowing the child to be happier?

Does having a good parent – child relationship help increase self worth in the child?

How does early attachment affect adulthood?

Research Hypotheses

Parent – child attachment makes a very substantial contribution in developing matured adult with a positive and happy mind. This in turn would make the child to lead a life with peace and contentment. A successful career path would also be possible.

Research Objective.

Are people happier because they have good attachment style with their parents which in turn is caused by good parenting?

Conceptual/ Operational definition

Happiness is based on what degree of life experience a person undergoes and how content are they with life. Good parenting is when the child feels secure and has the tendency to be independent in exploring the environment as well as developing good social relationship with people. The three types of attachment would be secure attachment, ambivalent attachment, and avoidant attachment.

Significance of study

This study is conducted to understand, appreciate and practice good parenting style in order to create happier children as how a parent – child attach does play a significant role in creating a generation with a healthier attachment style. This study is conducted as well to understand the basic need of the child.

Literature review

1.1 Are children happier as they have good attachment style which in turn is caused by good parenting style?

Individuals will be happier if they may have experience good attachment style which is the secure attachment style. According to Abraham Maslow: the needs hierarchy theory he proposed the five innate needs that activate and direct human behavior (Maslow, 1968, 1970 b). There are the psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, love and esteem needs and self – actualization. The needs are arranged in the order from the strongest to the weakest. Hence the lower needs must be satisfied before the higher needs are attained. The child seeks for security from the parent, thus by having a good psychological need and safety needs the child has developed a good bond with the parents growing into a young healthy adult. Children with a good secure attachment pattern are known to be more self confident, competent, and socially skilled. Where else avoidant attachment and anxious attachment, drives the child into having bonding problems with others and social alienation.

1.2 Good attachment style allows the child to have good emotional regulation and an increase self- worth.

Secure attachment style allows the child to have a healthier emotional regulation and a well balance coping system. In the child’s daily life they need to deal with the external world which is often characterized by demand and thread. The interaction with the outside world often activates the fight – flight response. Hence coping is used in order to reflect with the word stress. Thus developing a secure attachment helps a child feel secure and enables the child to then further explore the environment developing good coping skills. Besides that even in the state of ambiguity children can experience happiness. According to Lazarus he defined happiness as making a reasonable progress towards a goal (Lazarus, 1991b). Therefore when the child has a secure attachment they have a higher tendency in coping and regulating emotions as the need to fight the stress rather than flight would be much stronger. Anxious and avoidant style would be the opposite effect where the child would response to flight mode as they would see the need to either avoid the problem or anxiously tune of the flight mode.

1.3 How does optimism promote a variety of benefits in allowing the child to be happier?

There are four main factors that are inclined to the attachment system when it talks about happiness. Those four factors would be extraversion, optimism, self esteem and personal control. Thus personal control, optimism, and self- esteem are closely related to coping response. Moreover when the child is happy they tend to develop an optimistic thinking pattern where they believe that good thing will happen. Optimism is defined as the cognitive disposition to expect favorable outcomes (scheier, craver & Bridges 2001: Taylor, Kemeny, Reed, and Bower & Grunewald 2000). Optimism helps in reducing social alienation as well as develops longer lasting friendships. Hence optimism not only helps in personal growth but as well as becoming supportive towards by sharing emotional support and fortune. Secure attachment leads to an optimistic mind set which decreases depression as one of the main factor that contributes to sickness.