Ainsworth, Corsaro, And Children's Relationships Theories Of Essay

Length: 4 pages Subject: Children Type: Essay Paper: #33374857 Related Topics: Friendship, Ethnographic, Child Development, Child Psychology
Excerpt from Essay :

Ainsworth, Corsaro, And Children's Relationships

Theories of child development generally focus on whether there it is more indebted to their private relationships (typically consisting of the child's interactions with their family) or public relationships (involving the child's interactions with their peers.) The former theory is known as attachment theory since it refers to the child's reliance on their parents, while the latter is considered an ethnographic approach, as it places greater emphasis on the environment in which the child's development takes place. Although both approaches are scientifically viable, they are in many ways antithetical; this essay elucidates some of the salient differences between the two.

Mary Ainsworth's approach to child development is characterized as "attachment theory." In Ainsworth's seminal procedure "The Strange Situation," she offers a comprehensive model for measuring a child's sociability, with a complete taxonomy for various diagnoses. The procedure lasts for 20 minutes and involves the child, their mother, and a stranger. It is important that the child is at infant age (typically one to two years old), since one of Ainworth's main claims is that a child's social development is formulated earlier than had been previously believed -- prior to the child entering elementary school. A series of closely-monitored steps occur: first, the mother and child enter a room with glass walls, allowing for them to be easily observed. The room is small and filled with a collection of toys; it is intended to replicate the type of environment in which the child exists on a day-to-day basis. After three minutes (each stage in the procedure lasts three minutes) they are joined by a stranger. The third step involves the mother leaving the room; the parent then returns and the stranger exit the room; the...


In the sixth stage, the stranger re-enters, and in the last step the mother returns and the stranger leaves.

During the proceedings, a series of criteria are measured; first, it is noted to which degree the child explores and experiments with the toys and landscape of the room; second, the child's reaction to the departure and arrival of their mother; and third, their behavior (both alone and accompanied by their caregiver) toward the stranger. Through observing the child during the 20-minute procedure and following these criteria, three different possible diagnoses exist referring to the child's sociability. The first is known as Secure Attachment, in which the infant is happy around the mother and upset when alone (both by themselves and with the stranger); this diagnosis is associated with a very close, supportive relationship with their mother. It is also the most popular diagnosis. The second diagnosis, called Insecure Avoidant, is characterized by infants who do not demonstrate affection or dependence toward their mother; this usually indicates a mother who places their interests ahead of those of the child. A third diagnosis is Insecure-Resistant; this is similar to Insecure Avoidant only more extreme -- the child is not only avoidant or ignoring of their mother but exhibits dislike. This diagnosis is said to result from a parenting style that is cold and neglecting

The "Strange Situation" method is scientifically accepted and is shown to have consistent results. In fact, it is considered the most canonical method for determining child personality development. However, despite its popularity there are a number of controversial issues associated with it. Specifically, the premise asserts that the development of the child is contingent on the behavior of the mother; while the mother's comportment is perhaps most influential in child development, Ainsworth's critics contend that the influence of…

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