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Lee (2003) says that insecure attachments have been linked to psychiatric disorders to which the children are exposed to after the loss of the attachment figure. These children will form inability to form secure attachments, react with hostility and rejection to their environment according to Pickover, (2002). This is a phenomenon found among many immigrant children, especially who had the attachment figure back in their country of origin and yet they remained there. They tend to have a problem re-attaching themselves to any other person, hence may grow up to be violent and develop criminal trends Pickover, (2002).
Shortfalls of the attachment theory
The idea that the parents shape the personality and character is misplaced and instead it is the peers who influence character and behavior of the child. According to Harris (1998:Pp2) "parents do not shape their child's personality or character. A child's peers have more influence on them than their parents." This applied to the immigrant children as they can be seen to dramatically adopt other aspects within the U.S.A. setting in as much as they retain their original country traits. One instance is the language and physical expressions.
The aspect of nature and nurture also comes into play. The parents pass their gene to the child but nurturing can destroy these good traits if the child is predisposed to an environment that is not supportive of good characteristics (Mary Keegan, 2001:Pp261). The groups that the children join as they grow up will shape their behavior greatly as indicated by Mary Keegan, (2001).
Stern D. (1985) further observes that children get the traits from genes and not from the nurturing from their parents. This means they may not necessarily display everything that they learnt from their parents as suggested by the attachment theory, but widely display what they imbibe from their social groupings.
Bowlby attachment theory as portrayed by Lee (2003) is also erroneous as it picks the observation of the children during distressful times, when the parents are going away or are away and does not indicate the interaction between the mother and baby during non-stressful events. This serene time can give a batter indication of how the attachment between the two is formed and can be observed. Stern D. (1985:Pp 117) on the other side takes into account the study and observation of the attachment even after the trust of the child has been won through consistent company and what is referred to as "evoked companions, drawn from several RIGs, who operate at various levels of activation and awareness."
The other shortfall noticed by Lee (2003) in the attachment theory is on the fact that the attachment qualities are looked at on the primary attachment level, between the infant and mother and not other relations that may be there as indicated by Stern, D. (1985:Pp9). Here, Stern (1985) seems to concentrate a lot on the attachment as a possible phenomenon just between the infant and the mother and to some extent the father. Apparently children have attachments to other people apart from their mothers as demonstrated by Lee (2003).
The other significant limitation noticed here is the fact that the theory views the mother as the only source of primary attachment. This is false since the father or even siblings can form the source of primary attachment. Say an instance where the mother dies immediately after birth, or in the case where an immigrant mother who may have not wanted to add more children due to the financial distress forms a negative attitude and avoids the infant, there will inevitably be another source of primary attachment as indicated by Zhihuan J & Stephanie J. (2010: Pp46).
My position on the various issues raised above by Stern D. is that the approach strives and successfully so to demystify the attachment theory and make it more practical within the daily life than abstract thing that was impossible to understand. Stern (1985) strived to detach the blame in character of the child from the parents and introduce the concepts of environment and social setting in explaining attachment. There is an important display of factual approach that indicate the overlap of the parental attachment as proposed by Bowley and the intervening factors like the environment and peers as posited by Stern in a bid to explain character of children and the change in the character as they grow up.
Chris Fraley, (2010). A Brief Overview of Adult Attachment Theory and Research. Retrieved March 12, 2012 from http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm
Harris, J.R. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press. In Lee J., (2003). The Attachment System Throughout the Life Course: Review and Criticisms of Attachment Theory. Pp.2 http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/lee.html
Klaus, M.H., Kennell, J.H., & Klaus, P.H. (1995). Bonding. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
Pickover, S. (2002). Breaking the cycle: A clinical example of disrupting an insecure attachment system. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 24, 358-367.
Seiffge-Krenke, I. (1993). Close friendship and imaginary companions in adolescence. In B. Laursen (Ed.). Close friendships in adolescence (pp. 73-87). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Zhihuan J & Stephanie J., (2010). Variations in the Relationship Between Maternal Depression, Maternal Sensitivity, and Child Attachment by Race/Ethnicity and Nativity: Findings from a Nationally Representative Cohort Study. Maternal Child Health Journal. Vol.16. Pp46).
Stern, D. (1985). The Interpersonal world of the infant: a view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. Basic Books: New York. Retrieved from https://mylearning.saybrook.edu/file.php/2208/Chapter_1_The_Interpersonal_World_of_the_Infant.pdf
Trowell, J. (1982). Effects of obstetric management on the mother-child relationship. In Lee J., (2003). The Attachment System Throughout the Life Course: Review and Criticisms of Attachment Theory. Pp.2 Retrieved from http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/lee.html
Mary Keegan, (2001). The Effects of Poverty on Children's Socioemotional Development: Ecological Systems Analysis. Social Work. Vol.46 No.3 Pp.261
Erin J. Lee, (2003)., (2003). The Attachment System Throughout the Life Course: Review and Criticisms of Attachment Theory. Pp.2 Retrieved from…[continue]
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