Publication Date

1997

Abstract

We are experiencing a demographic revolution in America today as the roles within the family change. More children are being raised in single family homes, by young mothers or in child care. This is having a tremendous impact on the way children are being raised. A serious problem we face as a nation is violence and the age of those that are committing crimes is lowering. One of the root causes of this breakdown in American society can be found in the lack of bonding and subsequent attachment of an infant/child to its caretaker.

Research by professional child psychologists and therapy with troubled children confirm that the bonding and attachment process is extremely critical. Yet, within our society, the way children are being raised, without a loving, consistent caretaker and the growing problems of divorce, adoption, neglect, abuse and teenage pregnancy we face are damaging the formation of bonding and subsequent attachment of children to their caretakers.

This paper draws on psychological theory, scientific findings, and interviews with therapists who work with attachment disorder children to show: 1) the factors affecting bonding and attachment, 2) behavioral symptoms in children who suffered breaks in the attachment process, and 3) treatment for those children suffering from attachment disorder. In order for our children to develop a positive sense of self-worth, trust and love, bonding and attachment must occur in early childhood.

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society

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