Introduction to the Development of Humans

For this field experience, I observed an aunt and her 1-year 6-month-old niece. The aunt, as the primary caregiver, had developed a strong attachment bond with the child, making them suitable participants. The observation took place at a local playground, a familiar and comfortable setting for both the child and the caregiver. The observation was conducted from 10:30 am to 11:00 am in the morning.

Challenges Encountered

Several challenges arose during the observation. First, a language barrier between the observer and the child made communication difficult. The child could barely speak, and only the mother could understand her words. Second, the playground setting initially seemed strange to the child, who spent the first few minutes gazing around at the toys and new surroundings. Lastly, there were a few distractions as other people were present at the playground.

Signs of Attachment Observed

Despite these challenges, I was able to identify various signs of attachment in the child’s behavior:

  1. Proximity Seeking: The child consistently sought to stay close to the aunt, often clinging to her for comfort before exploring the surroundings. She monitored her aunt’s movements, indicating a secure base of attachment.
  2. Playfulness and Comfort: The child expressed happiness and comfort when with her aunt, often playing in her arms or lying on her shoulder, indicating a strong bond.
  3. Nonverbal Communication: The child used smiles and hand gestures to seek her aunt’s attention, who responded positively, demonstrating mutual understanding and interaction.
  4. Preference for Primary Caregiver: The child preferred her aunt over strangers, showing clear signs of attachment.

Caregiver’s Behavior

The aunt’s behavior also demonstrated signs of attachment:

  1. Eye Contact: The caregiver used eye contact to attract and maintain the child’s attention, reinforcing their bond.
  2. Responsiveness: The aunt was highly responsive to the child’s behaviors, using facial expressions, gestures, voice modulation, and body movements to interact, indicating a well-developed attachment bond.

Separation and Reunion Test

During the observation, I asked the caregiver to act as though she was leaving. The child immediately followed her aunt by crawling and began crying when the aunt was about to leave. This reaction indicated distress at the perceived separation. Upon returning, the aunt promptly picked up the child, who greeted her with physical contact and stopped crying immediately, demonstrating a strong, secure attachment.

Conclusion

The observation revealed a secure attachment between the infant and her primary caregiver. This was evidenced by the child’s distress during separation, active embrace upon reunion, exploration of the environment in the caregiver’s presence, and interactive behaviors.

Recommendations for Parents of Insecurely Attached Children

Parents of insecurely attached children can improve their relationships by:

  • Responding to the child’s emotions and communication attempts.
  • Engaging in talking, laughing, and playing with the child.

These actions help develop a secure attachment bond, making the child feel safe and building trust.

Validity of the Observation Method

I believe this method of measuring parent-child attachment is valid. In contrast, infants in daycare might exhibit different behaviors due to varied past experiences and potentially insufficient caregiver attention. An alternative approach could be the use of free response picture assessments for young children to measure attachment.

Overall, this field experience provided valuable insights into the behaviors indicative of secure attachment and the importance of a responsive and interactive caregiver relationship.

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