John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth and Margaret Mahler were psychologists who helped us to better understand how attachment is important in early life development and how these early childhood attachments can possibly impact adult behaviors later in life. John Bowlby, was born in a upper middle class family in England. His parents would only spent a small amount of time with him per day. His parents believed that if they spent too much time with children would make them spoil.
Later on his life John Bowlby said that his early child experience as traumatic experience. John Bowlby later on studied psychology. John Bowlby, believes that early bonds with there primary caregivers has a huge impact lasts a lifetime. He described attachment as a lasting psychological connection between human being. The infant knows that the caregivers are dependable, which creates a secure base for the child so they can explore the world. Mary Ainsworth was born in the US. She later on worked with John Bowlby at the Tavistock Clinic in England.
He work was very similar to John Bowlby She then returned to the US to teach at the famous university of John Hopkins where created a assessment to measure attachment between mothers and children. That’s where she created her famous Strange Situation Assessment. During this study researches observed children between the ages of 12 and 18 months as they responded to situation in which they were briefly left alone and then reunited with their mothers. Ainsworth came out with three major styles of attachment; secure, ambivalent insecure, and avoidant secure. Each of these types of attachments have its characteristics.
Secure attachment, is marked by distress when separated from caregivers and are joy when the caregivers return. Ambivalent attachment is when children usually become very distressed when parents leave. This attachment style is considered relatively uncommon, affecting children in the US. This kind of attachment is a result of poor maternal. Her last of the three style of attachment which is avoidant attachment which tends to avoid parents or caregivers and when offered a choice, these children will show no preference between a caregiver and a complete stranger.
This attachment style usually is a result of abusive and neglect caregivers. Margaret Mahler, is a Hungarian born psychologist who later on came to work in the USA. She was the creator of the Separation Individuation Theory. In this theory Mahler speculates that after then first few weeks of infancy, progresses from phase (Normal Symbiotic Phase), which it perceives itself as one with its mother within the lager environment, to an extended phase called Separation individuation phase.
This stage consists of several stages that the infant slowly comes to distinguish itself from its mother, and then by degrees, discovers its identity, will and individuality. All of these Psychologists helped the evolution on understanding why children are the way they are. They were able to go deep in research and studies to help us understand why children and humans present themselves in the way they do.
It helped us understand that children who do not form secure attachments in early life can have negative impact on behaviors in later childhood. A secure attachment early in a child life is very important. For his full intellectual potential; sort out what he perceives; logical thinking; development of a conscience; cope with stress and frustration and many other aspects of everyday living. This will help children have better relationship with his peers and will help him have a better sense of the world in which we live today.