Saturday, February 4, 2017


For additional insight into your relationship style, consult the article “Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault” in the January 8, 2017 New York Times as it dealt with the “ Attachment Theory” based on the work of Drs. John Bowlby and Mary S. Ainsworth. Their findings may trigger your curiosity. This theory dealt with the complex interactions between the infant and the caretaker. The result of their research, provide clues into the psychological development-attachment style of the child, adolescent and adult. This interaction between caretaker and child focused on infant behaviors such as crying, sucking, smiling, clinging, and the responses that followed between the dyad. The mother’s psychological condition obviously affected her ability to respond to her child appropriately and by the same token, the newborns temperament and cognitive development affected his ability to respond-looking, vocalizing, smiling, and distress. Some other clues to the child’s emotional adjustment is depicted by its ability to feed well, sleep well and ease of its bowel movements. It’s the idea that the caretaker not only talks and stimulates the baby to babble, etc. but the mother also alleviated the child’s hunger, cold, and pain while performing caretaking acts as well. The quality and the ability of the mother to meet the infant’s needs and become a positive reinforcement value is a must for healthy development. Hopefully, the mother doesn’t become associated as a negative reinforcement value. Research by Dr. Harry Harlow provided some insight into the feeding dynamic between mother and infant. This dynamic was associated with the infant’s ability to develop trust and well-being during the process. Dr. Harlow conducted a series of studies that employed “mother” monkeys that were constructed with wire mesh to other mother monkeys that were covered by Terry cloth. Both “mother” monkeys had a bottle attached to their chest. Briefly, and in a variety of experiments, these infant monkeys characteristically chose the terry cloth mother, and spent more time, clinging to her than to the plain wire mesh mother. Even when a fear provoking stimulus was placed in the cage, the infant monkeys ran to the terry cloth mother rather than to the wire mesh mother. The terry cloth mother was also more effective in reducing the monkeys fear compared with the wire mesh mother. These experiments suggested the importance of closely holding the infant near while feeding instead of being preoccupied or by propping a bottle during feeding. A sense of safety for the infant is paramount. To Be Continued

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