It is believed that humans, like newborn birds and mammals in general, have the natural capacity to bond with their mothers. This natural capacity has since been called “imprinting,” the instinctual behavior of an infant where the child establishes a pattern based on the environment. The solemn responsibility of being parents to a child is grave, and the consequences are immense should they fail in any of the areas of parenthood.
On the contrary, when it comes to deliberately hurting a child, or causing damage to their psyche’ as a person, the term “failure” would not be adequate or appropriate to describe its effects. Whether abusing or neglecting a small person, studies reveal that the results are almost the same: the destructive effects are colossal and prevailing for almost all of the rest of the child’s life. Infants, in their earliest stage learn from the environment provided to them and respond/bond accordingly.
This theory was taken from ethologist Konrad Lorenz and then expanded on by John Bowlby, a British research scientist who is considered to be the founder of attachment theory (Reebye et al, at www. attachmentacrosscultures. org). The relationship between the infant and the caregiver is particularly important and critical to the healthy emotional development of the child (http://articles. syl. com/attachmentparentinggroupsisthissomethingnew. html). The aforementioned styles are built on and support the attachment theory of Bowlby.
Each parenting style affects the future of children. Studies confirm these conclusions, thereby showing a predictive pattern that parenting styles influence the children’s prospective adult life (Ainsworth and Berkeley studies in Reebye et al review at www. attachmentacrosscultures. org). Hence, it is safe to say that parenting styles and attachment are synonymous and both are predictors of child well-being especially on social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development and problem behavior. Implications
Though the framework is general in nature, there are important and significant implications that can be drawn from this theory. The absence alone of a parent tips the balance and the remaining parent (oftentimes the mother) is inundated with responsibilities difficult enough even with the presence of both parents. The abandoned wife or female partner fathered by the Black males had to divide her time with the physical care, earning money and other complications as protection on the family from day to day, and the general stress that assail her on a continued basis.
Hence, attachment needs of the children are basically ignored, or hardly met because of these realities (Ainsworth and Berkeley studies in Reebye et al review at www. attachmentacrosscultures. org). What is more startling is that another factor, the “biological factors” emphasized the impact of trauma (not just to mention the physical one) on the changes that a child undergoes in the neurobiological level. Absorbing the detailed description of the studies made mention by the author on what they call as “pruning of specific neurologic pathways” and that which specifically influence the affect or emotional bearing of the child.
No wonder some children never can overcome these effects especially when they reach adulthood when stresses compound and those ‘pathways” may no longer be able to bear up the crisis that had arrived into their lives. Neglectful parents who semi-abandon (as it is in single-parent households, a picture of modern African American women’s role) their children in the streets or to the care of people who just don’t care or may abuse them think that they have never hurt their children. Others think of their kids as properties or objects meant to be thrown, poked at, or do just about anything to them.
Physical and mental health problems. As a result of rough living and the constant exposure to stressful events, homeless children between the ages of 6 and 17 have the higher possibility of acquiring mental disorders/illnesses (http://www. nationalhomeless. org/publications/facts. html). Making their condition worse, often, their mental and health problems are left untreated; thus they grow up with the same chronic illness persisting. In this state, it is extremely difficult to provide for their basic needs themselves (http://mentalhealth. samsha. gov/publications/allpubs/homelessness/default.
asp#top). Physical and mental health problems compounded with hygiene problems connected to homelessness, the worsening condition is not difficult to see in the near future. There will be multiple untreated physical ailments, namely, respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, skin diseases, and the high risk of exposure to HIV infection. The health prospect for the homeless is indeed bleak. In many of the studies made children raised in an uninvolved parenting style, perform poorly in mostly all of the domains mentioned above (i. e. social competence etc. ).
The degree of attachment can best be seen in the result of either a poor or good performance in these specific areas. The following illustration helps elucidate this connection of attachment/parenting style in and through their effects or influence among the said domains: Source: Reebye et al, at www. attachmentacrosscultures. org/research. In other words, when the American government starts to address the massive onslaught of the children’s healthy development because of Black father’s sense of irresponsibility, and when a revolutionary solution is evident, then the reduction of the degradation of society in general is going somewhere.
When parents become responsive or showing more attachment, children can become socially competent and psychosocially functioning whereas when parents show less attachment or become unresponsive, children tend to be indifferent and less involved. They have the potential to have lesser behavioral control and possibly exhibit problems in academic performance and social compliance.
1. Arndt, Bettina (2002). The US recognizes the peril of absent fathers. Why can’t we?. Accessed January 31, 2009 at http://www. theage. com. au/articles/2002/12/08/1038950270376. html 2. Bernard, T. L. (1999). Juvenile crime and the transformation of juvenile justice: Is there a juvenile crime wave? Justice Quarterly, 16, 337A356. 3. Hanson. Rochelle F. and Eve G. Spratt. May (2000). “Reactive Attachment Disorder: What we know about the disorder and implications for treatment. ” Child Maltreatment, Vol. 5, No. 2. , pp. 137-145.