Attachment in early child development is a vital concept and lays a foundation for a child’s future relationships with family and the society at large. Developmental stages of a child particularly at infancy are highly affected and influenced by the relationship between the care giver and the infant. Strong, consistent and stable relationships influence appropriate attachments for the child. However, inconsistent, weak or abusive relationships lead to disconnect between the child and the care giver (Simpson, 2008). Moreover, the type of attachment a child develops with the caregiver influences their relationships throughout to adulthood. This study will focus on secure and insecure attachments and factors which contribute to the occurrence of these attachment issues. Moreover, I will analyse personal experiences relating to attachment in my past life precisely the early stages of development; pre-school and early schooling years.
The main focus of the study will be on the effect of busy work schedules on parenthood. Having been brought up by working parents my early childhood is a good example of effects these societal demands have on family life. Contemporary changes in society have led to intense competitiveness and demands on all persons. Busy work schedules and work demands have led to neglect of family life so as people can meet financial obligations and demands by one’s dependant. In most families, parents or caregivers spend approximately 70 percent of their time out of their homes. Consequently, they spend minimum time with their children which, in turn, strains the parent-child relationship (Watts, 2009). Growing up I was no exception my parents presence was minimal, which in turn affected my closure and trust towards them. As a consequence confiding in them on most issues is a challenging and more often than not friends are easier to confide in than my parents. In addition, lack of appropriate skills and knowledge on how to relate, and respond to a child is another issue that affects a child’s attachment to the caregiver and other people, as well.
The problem of insecure attachment varies from one person to the other and also takes varying levels of severity. These factors are dependent on the degree of neglect by the primary caregivers, and also the nature of parent-child relationship. Detachment associated with absenteeism of parents is in most cases not severe, that is, children rarely develop severe conditions such as (PTSD) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, and Oppositional Defiant Disorders among others (Simpson, 2008). However, other emotional and social issues arise such as unwarranted distrust, avoidance of close relationships, and unstable intimate relationships. Moreover, the nature and pattern of absenteeism determines when and how the child becomes attached. Working parents, in most cases, are present inconsistently, hence the child is not entirely deprived of a relationship with the caregiver, but there is also no room for long-term relations to develop.
The absence of parents during the early stages of growth can be exemplified, further, using the attachment theory and its categories. Attachment theory is mainly based on relationships, bonds and affection that result from interpersonal relations. In psychology, the main focus is the relationship between the caregivers of a child and the child. In addition, the effect of their relationship is used as a reflection or basis for future relationships of the child. Types of attachments can be categorized into secure, ambivalent, avoidant and disorganized. Secure attachments are developed when the caregiver is able to successfully bond the child. The child experiences distress when the caregiver is not present and comfort in the presence of the caregiver. Ambivalent attachment results from inconsistent availability of the caregiver. The child responds by being overly distressed when caregiver departs from the child. In avoidant attachment, the child does not express discriminative concern or attachment to the caregiver (Watts, 2009). The child hardly shows any emotions towards departure or arrival of the caregiver. Lastly, disorganized attachment arises from withdrawal, affective responses and negativity of the caregiver. Maltreatment and abusive tendencies towards the child also lead to this form of attachment. The child with this form of attachment exhibits abnormally odd behaviours such as avoidance of eye contact at all costs.
Absenteeism of parents as a result of busy work schedules is the main focus of the study. Neglect resulting from this absenteeism is involuntary and to a given extent the child may not entirely disengage from the caregiver (Simpson, 2008). However, this would occur only if the caregiver takes the initiative of expressing his or her desire to be available. Moreover, the stage of development of the child is also crucial in determining the effectiveness of this strategy. In support of this argument, a distinction between voluntary and involuntary neglect tendencies is essential. Busy schedules push parents away from their children hence this results to involuntary neglect of the child. On the other hand, maltreatment out of spite for the child or malice amounts to voluntary neglect.
Secure attachment of a child is important during infant developmental stages. However, pre-school and early school periods are also of great importance and significance. As a child develops from infancy to latency the child learns how to relate and co-exist with the people around him or her. Parents play a major role in ensuring that children obtain good inter-relation skills. Poor or weak attachment to the child negatively affects growth and development of social skills and appropriate emotional responses (Watts, 2009). In contemporary times, poor parenthood resulting from absenteeism has been worsened by technological development and innovations. Caregivers prefer to use communication devices in place of one-on –one relationship with their children. Personally, I fall victim of this ordeal more so having been a child of the computer era.
Regular exposure and being nurtured by different people is also another issue that affects my degree of attachment (Simpson, 2008). This is an issue that also affects a majority of individuals brought up by full-time working parents. In most cases, working parents hire nannies to take of their children. What is more, nannies are changed regularly for different reasons and this negatively impacts on the child. The child is not able to develop long-term bonds.
The computer era basically covers several decades as computerised services and devices have been in use over the years. Technology changes have pushed us to consult computers and virtual persons on the internet for assistance. Moreover, people feel more secure and at ease opening up to a machine rather than another person. Use of computers can also be further exemplified by the rampant growth of internet based social companies and social media sites. In most cases, people hardly meet in person they prefer to converse over the internet and social sites (Watts, 2009). Application and use of social media may have advantages such as heightened convenience and increased relations. However, the sites limit direct interpersonal relations, which can be avenues to fuel avoidance that results from detachment issues.Detached or avoidant persons to a given extent use communication devices as coping strategies or avenues, as well.