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Attachment
Attachment in the context
of involving children in
assessment
What is attachment?
• Theory of personality development in the
context of close relationships (Howe 1999)
• An affectionate bond between two
individuals that endures through time and
space and serves to join them emotionally
(Kennel 1976)
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
What does it provide?
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•
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Safe base
Balance between trust and autonomy
Psychological development
Physical development
Cognitive development
Conscience development
Identity
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
How long does it last?
Shifted and renegotiated through life:
• Infant…
• Toddler…
• Child…
• Adolescent…
• Independence…
• Parenthood…
• Care of elders
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Why of interest to children's
professions?
• Why close relationships matter
• How the quality influences development
• Assessing relationships – children's state and
parents’ ability to care
• Quality and character of relationships
• Improving parent and child relationships
• Parents’ own experiences
• Extended family – relevance for kinship care
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
What are attachment
behaviours?
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•
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Bring child in close proximity to caregiver
Maximise care and protection
Evolutionary – increase survival chances
Doesn’t automatically mean healthy bond
Give information about nature of attachment
– behaviours and responses
• Relevant to developmental stage
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Patterns of attachment
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Secure
Ambivalent
Avoidant
Disorganised
Combinations of the above
Unattached
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Care giving
Care giving behaviours reinforce good attachment
or compound attachment. Optimum behaviours
on the left and cause for concern on the right.
• Sensitive
-------- Not attuned
• Acceptance -------- Rejection
• Cooperation -------- Interference
• Accessibility -------- Ignoring
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Attachment – cultural issues
• Basic concepts are same universally
• Aspects vary across cultures
• Attachment figures affected by family
structure
• Long-term separations
• Family networks and connections vital
• Asylum seeking children – effects of
separation.
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Effects of lack of attachment
• Difficulty relating normally
• Difficulty growing socially, maintaining
relationships
• Difficulty caring for others
• Egocentric, impulsive, babyish,
• Difficulties with rules and laws
• Lack of trust – highly defended
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Separation and loss
• Separation involves fear which needs to be
mastered; and loss involves grief which
needs to be expressed (Aldgate & Simmonds
1990)
• Grief is the process through which one
passes in order to recover from loss
(Fahlberg 1994)
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Stages of grief
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(taken from On Death and Dying by KublerRoss,1969)
Shock
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Sadness/despair
Resolution
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
Stages of withdrawal
(taken from A Child’s Journey Through
Placement by Fahlberg, 1994)
• Protest
• Despair
• Quiet withdrawal
Communicating with Children ©
National Children's Bureau 2006
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