Application Of Attachment Theory In Social Care

This essay will explore the topic of attachment style that a social care worker could observe in an 18-month-old infants at crèche, the care of infants in the modern world has changed in the last century, many kids spending more time of their early childhood years look after by other people’s other than their parents, this is being done by child-minders, nannies or shared group care, such as in crèches. (John Bowlby) was a British Psychologist who first wrote on attachment theory as the strong emotional connectedness between people, he wanted to understand the feelings and experiences that children have when separated from their parents or love ones. The aim of this assignment is to truly understand our responses to kid’s needs and behaviour, like our temperament that we have. The interactions we have with kids. Our response to their emotional needs. Easier way to respond to sad children. How to use empathy to respond to children’s expressions of behaviour. How to respond to children’s temperaments, and to present the theoretical components of the attachment, the first objective will explore the theory of aspect, the second objective will examine the practical area of attachment theory in social care, and the final objective of this assignment will present the importance of attachment theory for social care practitioners, the researcher has chosen this theory to show the effects of deprivation of mother-love relationship and to demonstrate that adult and infants influence actions of each other.

Social Care is the study and practice of relationship-based approach, Share P. and Lalor, K (2013) that is the purposeful planning and provision of care, protection and psychosocial support and advocacy in partnership with vulnerable individuals in their daily living activities to achieve their wider life goals which include groups of all ages who experience less important or relegate to disadvantage or with special needs. This topic is relevant to Social Care worker, because it will establish and achieves good emotional connection between children and their care worker, parent, and for human relationship, because a secure attachment in early childhood bring about positive outcomes in later life, including happy mental health. Attachment theory was developed by professionals to examine how kids interact with their caregiver that play an important role in their day to day life by a British psychologist called John Bowlby (1969),

he pointed out three attachment that can occur with children and their caregiver which include, secure, insecure-avoidance and disorganize attachment. A secure attachment can be referred to as good relationship between a child, parents, caregiver, and the people that they can truth that is involved in creating protection, making them to be well secure, John Bowlby (1988) stated those kids who are securely attached has positive expectations for self and others, and they are more likely to approach the world with confidence, well-attached children to a caregiver, easily develop attachment to other people, a child with stable attachment knows that they are protected that they have someone to talk to, and child without this type of attachments are nervous, the writer agreed with this view that when children have a secure attachment, which shows that the child is assured. for instance, if a child is in need of food, tired or afraid of something, meaning the caregiver will attend to their needs, comfort and reassure them. For example, for the purpose of confidentiality the writer will pseudo name of Mercy who is one and half year old, she attends crèche for the first time, she notices that her mother has brought her to unusual place that she had never been to, and there are other children of her age playing around, and she was unsure of the environment, but at the same time you could see that she wanted to play, but she feels that she should stay with her mum and not allowing her mum to leave her behind. This type of infant behaviour is called secure base attachment, where the infant feels wary, as they are kept quite close and holding onto their caregivers very well, but at the same time, trying to examine the environment, this is essential to an infant because, without emotional secure attachment with their caregiver, the child would not have the freedom to analyze. Insecure attachment, Infant or children whose experiences with their parent or caregivers are negative or unsure of safety are more likely to develop an insecure attachment, these infants who feel insecurely attach think that adults are not to be trusted easily, they become very uncomfortable, resisting going to school or returning home with the caregiver pending on what the case may be. Avoidant attachment, when this type of attachment occurs, the child will be distressed to make contact with the caregiver, refusing to follow or return to the caregiver, this can also happen when a child is separated from their birth parents for a long time this will make the child to look at them like stranger so the child will be withdrawing from them. Disorganised attachment can be in result of a different issue that a child has experienced in life, this can happen when child losses their loved ones like mother, father, change of placement,

physical abuse and many more, and then the child becomes unsettled, and there will be a change in their attitude when they are emotionally stressful, which is the common types of behaviours that social care worker can easily observe in infant attending childcare facilities.

Mary Ainsworth (1970s) she was a developmental psychologist who researches and contributes to the area of early emotional attachment, she elaborated on Bowlby's research on attachment theory and developed an approach to observing a child's attachment to a caregiver with her research, she identified three major types of attachment that children’s have to their mother or caregivers. She stated there is a great tendency for a child to become emotionally attached to their mother or caregiver, that early developing stages are when characters are formed, attachment relationship goes beyond bonded with the ones that give the children food or care that it encompasses food, love, security, safe feeling of being wanted. Caregiver should be expecting to see a small child exhibiting some of these following characters: they do most opposite instructions, they are impatient, they are not motivated by words, they are likely to push or pull and step on others, they have no concept of sharing, they are immature emotionally and always at risk falling while running or climbing. Social care worker may be worry if care facilities are not meeting up with health and safety standard of children attending the centre, for instance, if there is shortage of staffs, the number of children in a room, children emotional needs are not met, if accidents and behavioural record are not properly kept in line with the child first Act 2015, if health and safety guidelines are not been implemented.

All children are unique, and they are from different diverse family structure like; divorced or separated couple, mother and grandmother, foster parents, adoptive families, step-families, two-mom and two-dad families, families with mom and dad, it is imperative that the caregiver should take the opportunity to teach them the acceptable way of life, how to embrace different family diversity in our community or society, as kids learn a lot from their caregiver, on how to love, respect, and their spiritual needs, culture, value of life, and some kids end-up practising the religion of their early childhood caregiver. Also, with different religions and cultures, these are populate of our Irish childcare facilities at present days. As such, carer may see behaviour styles that could be perceived as disorganised or insecure attachment in children using their facilities. Generally, people with this attachment style always have issue in connecting with others emotionally. They may be aggressive or unpredictable toward loved ones, due to lack of consistency of love and affection in their early childhood.

The most important of Bowlby theory can be summarized as the primary purpose of providing safety and protection for kids, child safeguarding is very important in the care of children, social care workers need to be aware of policy and procedure in child first guidelines (Act 2015) that commenced (2017) and the policy that is in place at their workplace, it will not be a good practice for a social care worker to see a child been abused in any manner like: physical and emotionally abuse, neglect, sexual abuse without being reported.


In conclusion of this topics of (SCW) and child attachment, which focus on the importance of maintaining a secure attachment with children or service user, care worker relationship helps to improve client’s quality of life, attachment is essential and is important in human development, but it is especially important for social care workers to ahead in their role. Studies have shown that insecure attachment in early childhood is prone to develop behavioural problems as they age. It is possible to see the basis of social issues that surrounded in mental and emotional reactions of children and infants in the society. In balancing man and the society, everyone has the great affinity toward people who make them feel loved, thus the more separated a child is from their loved ones the more they learn to resent someone who wants to fill that role. Bowlby attachment theory aimed the social care worker with a foreknowledge of service user childhood history, and equipped them on how well to go about bring the best out of situations, It clearly demonstrated the love of a primary caregiver that go a long way to determine the personality traits of a child relationship with the environment, or in later life, also a child relationship in the world as sighted by Bowlby, it still holds today, as it was in the past, this illustrated attachment reminds us that we may come from different nationalities, races, Ethnicities, languages or faiths, and we can live our lives differently, but at the same time we all have the same daily needs, hopes, and dreams.

31 October 2020
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