The first stages of life are a critical time for the formation of the sense of security that will accompany the child into existence. Unfortunately, some deficiencies become apparent only over time.
That the mother is an important figure in the life of a child is accepted and a belief so deeply rooted that it can be considered an axiom, which is a clear general principle whose proof is entirely superfluous.
We all know that without an attachment figure may be as a mother, a newborn, as with good resources, not increasing. At the point, sometimes you can not even survive. We also know, because we gather from our direct experiences and indirect, that the mother is almost always the emotional center and the most important reference point in childhood of humans – as many other animal species – and this is sometimes into adulthood.
It is also equally clear that this relationship is born and develops fundamental and deep between mother and son, which the experts call “primary”: how many and which carries out important functions in the early stages of life, as can be experienced on either the other side, and the risks faced by children – and other small animal species – when the “primary link” is, for different reasons, deficient, defective or absent.
And ‘thanks to the studies on attachment in the animal world, with clinical observations and studies of psychologists and psychoanalysts of persons who have suffered from lack of affection in early childhood, which now have a systematic body of knowledge. Knowledge that enable us to make predictions on the evolution of mother-child relationship, to grasp the peculiarities of creating favorable conditions and take action where difficulties arise or there are deficiencies.
Ethology and Child – Konrad Lorenz and Eckhard Hess, the two celebrated scholars of the behavior, you have the merit of having identified the mechanism of ‘”footprint” (or imprinting), genetically determined, which binds to the mother after the birth of the small species characterized by an early brain development. The most famous example is that of ducklings. Over the first 24-28 hours of life the little ducklings instinctively follow the movement and shape of the mother because of this impulse can reach the places where the food and learn to distinguish the edible objects from those who do not are. In the handful of hours after the birth of the ducklings are “attached” to the mother, who becomes their reference point, which rely on the guidance, the secure base from which to repair if the situation becomes alarming, dangerous or unclear. Soon learn to distinguish the call of the mother from all the others. The same thing occurs for the mother, including hundreds of different sounds, can recognize the direction of their children: an amazing ability, present in both birds and mammals, which allows it to recover little, if these were removed too her.
Although the footprint is a high-precision mechanism, which belongs to a species-specific biological clock, mother nature intended – as he often does – unique alternative: if the mother fails, follow the small other “objects” on the move they will find next to them in the first hours after birth. These objects in motion will remain linked throughout childhood.
The attachment to a substitute mother occurs, albeit with other times and other ways, even in mammals, including humans, if the biological mother is absent or unavailable, the puppies can find warmth, affection and protection an adoptive mother who, in some cases, may also belong to a species different from each other or be male .
To survive, a child needs someone to take care of him, not only to feed or cover, but also to convey, through its presence and its interactions, security and optimism.
In the first few months and throughout the first year of life, the mother (or his replacement), is the one that meets the needs of the child with a wide range of behaviors that spontaneous welcome, embrace, tolerate, excuse, enhance, protect. The proximity, physical contact and voice are the vehicles through which fuel the sense of security and psychological well-being of the child. When a baby cries is sometimes enough to speak softly or whisper a rhyme because it is calm or decrease the intensity of crying, as if the voice acts as a soothing caress .
In our species the mother-child attachment is a mutual bond that is formed in the first 3 years. The consolabilità and tears are just two of the traits that contribute to the construction of the attachment relationship: children conquer the adults with the features of the face and body, with the vocals, the smiles, the smell dela skin looks, movements, postures, and above all with a sense of security that can inspire. The activation of parental behavior is linked largely to the feelings you feel in contact with the baby: an infant being able to make people smile, to comfort him, to get his attention generates in people who deal with it a feeling of choice, effectiveness and pleasure that triggers a dialogue of significant signals.
In addition, for the breastfeeding mother hormonal factors come into play that make it prone to “love” of their child and to continue with him, even after the birth, the symbiotic relationship that he had during pregnancy, when they perceived themselves as part of .
Another important dimension in cementing the relationship-child attachment figure is the “cuddliness,” an English word to translate only a paraphrase: the infant’s ability to curl up and indulge in the arms of an adult. The good disposition of the child’s body shape of the adult who holds in her arms and relax indicates his complete trust and willingness to receive affection .[…]
When you hold it curled up on your body when you cradle him talk or sing you a song, the baby feels that someone is taking care of him, which is attributed a value and in turn will “attack “to those who care. Growing up, always better to distinguish the people who look after them and become attached. And ‘fragile, but if someone loves you feel strong, powerful. What is crucial at this stage is that the baby feels that held him, who not only cared for and supported physically, but also in the mind of someone and that someone wants her sake […]. In the dynamics of attachment, therefore, a mother who has the basic qualities needed to play its role, the child creates a climate in which it is possible to verify both the creative exploration of reality, and the gradual detachment from her. Before reaching this stage of maturity, however, the child may experience strong anxiety when, between 7-8 and 16-18 months, the attachment figure is away and there are no other similar figures in the vicinity, or when it is at ‘suddenly with strangers, which can not predict reactions and behaviors. In this first phase is being formed “self-concept”: a kind of “self-image in the world.” In contact with attachment figures and based on everyday experiences the child forms his own point of view or philosophy of life, or, if you will, a kind of representation of their deep feelings about the fact of living. And ‘then acquires a fundamental feeling of confidence and joy, or, conversely, mistrust .[…] Reciprocity is the key to start the process that slowly and gradually brings the child to become autonomous. A good latch feels safe and has positive effects, physical and psychological, both immediate and long-term.
An important stage of the mother-child relationship is one that coincides with the need to escape from the symbiosis that characterizes the early days, when the child perceives his own body as an extension of that of the mother and the mother considers yet as the baby part of himself. The symbiosis of the early days – physical and psychological – plays a key role in the survival of the newborn, so much so that a mother indifferent or which fails to convey warmth and willingness confuses the child and complicates the process of attachment. As, however, the initial binding must be transformed to give the child the opportunity to grow, to acquire skills, security and identity separate from that of the mother .[…] From a mother is expected flexibility. A mother has to accept that his son is other than itself, which may have a will and desires different from their own, which can grow well with others and other bonds. To grow, to communicate and do not run the risk of svilupapre a “false self” (to please in every respect the expectations of others, originally those of his primary attachment figure) should diversify a son from his mother. If it is identical, it is reflected in each other but do not you come to recognize their own emotional states separated by the one with whom you are in symbiosis. Too much close off the prospect. The feelings are mixed together and confused. You feel safe, strong and powerful only in the primal space, outside of that space is rather small and helpless .[…]
The effects of deficiencies in the bond of attachment can be found from the first 2 years of life. From a year you can already describe 4 major types of attachment on how children react to separation and the presence of their primary attachment figure, which is usually the mother:
– In the great majority of cases the small, past the critical phase of 7-16 months, can bear without drama the successive failures of the mother and did not complain when they are left with other people they know. And ‘secure attachment.
– A second group includes children who need the continued presence of the mother, even if they can give the impression of being independent. The bond is very strong, but masked. It is only later that the difficulties will arise, in time, ie, the child must give evidence of genuine autonomy, for example in the time of entry to school and adolescence. And ‘avoidant attachment.
– The third group includes some affectionate child who can not stand not to have always beside her mother and who are alarmed as soon as she walks away. The mother does not behave in a consistent manner (says one thing and does another, has mood swings continued, alternating affection of maltreatment, the child calls and then rejects it) and they are not able to predict the reactions. Children are usually very anxious. And ‘ambivalent attachment.
The last category includes a group of children who are very disturbed by the absence of the mother and frightened by his presence. The child has contradictory behaviors, look elsewhere when his mother takes him in her arms, and when he tries to reach The child’s basic needs – love, affection, warmth, unconditional acceptance – were not met. And ‘attachment confused, which can result in severe personality disorders if the baby is unable to establish a link with another source of attachment.