Example Childcare Essay:In the light of changes to the family since 1950 are Bowlbys ideas about care for young children still relevant today?

Example Childcare Essay:In the light of changes to the family since 1950 are Bowlbys ideas about care for young children still relevant today?
In this paper Bowlbys theory ofattachment and child care will be outlined along with additions from othertheorists such as Rutter and Ainsworth. From this we will see how the evolutionof the family unit since 1950s has been affected by such theories along withwelfare policy and social theorists which have influenced family life and childcare practices in the UK.
Bowlby described attachment as thebond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver. It ischaracterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants'needs and emotional development. Bowlby noted the apparent distress in childrenseparated from their mothers in unusual circumstances e.g. hospitalisation. Instudying the more abnormal and distressing situations he attempted to shedlight on an understanding of normal emotional attachment development, and how adisruption could prove damaging to the child emotionally and through to adultmaturation.

Bowlby suggested that the presenceof the mother was just as crucial to the baby as being supplied basic needssuch as food. His conclusions led him to postulate that the distress atseparation from the mother was universal in babies. Bowlby characterised thisdistress as following the pattern of infant protest, followed by despair andending in eventual detachment. The term 'separation anxiety' was brought aboutechoing ethological survival techniques in which patterns of actions enablesurvival of young animals. Such ideas influenced Bowlby in postulating asignificant period attachment of one to five years which was imperative historicallyto biological survival, and if were not in place then emotional andintellectual problems would occur in adulthood.

This can be seen as a rigid attitudeand has played a large part in influencing childcare decisions through theestablishment of a connection between maternal absence, child care (includinginstitutional and foster care) and later developmental problems. Studies fromRutter and Ainsworth have agreed with an attachment principle but havedeveloped it to include situational variables such as previous home life,relationships, depth of bonding and care and reasons and reactions of thecaregiver in dealing with an absence and return situation that can have aneffect on the child above any basic separation. The length of absence, qualityof care giving within that absence and inherent flexibility and adaptability ofinfants as well as their capability to make multiple attachments all need to betaken into account within this area.

During the 1940s Bowlby made aconnection between the attachment of an infant and mother and the shaping of aninfants personality. From this an association was placed on the mother caringfor the child instead of working. At this time welfare policies were focussedon a post war development of the family, and working freedoms afforded to womenduring the war were heavily curtailed as was war time nursery care. Popularpolicies suggested women should now be investing in their families as a duty.

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Thus if women workers were not beingencouraged politically as an economic asset then child care policy provisionwas also diminished. Here Bowlbys ideas fueled policy through popularisingimages of home based child care and family values by experts. Rutter laterinfluenced changes through his findings of multiple attachment making inchildren - although stressed that continuity of attachment was important. Hewas in support of child day care as long as it was continuous and high quality,although a preference of parental care was suggested by Rutter.

There is a difficulty in isolatingvariables which result in positive and negative attachments. Indeed somefeminists argue that stay at home mothers are often at risk of harming theirchildren through an inability to cope and lack of support from immediate orextended family. Associated with this argument is that of the risk fromdomestic violence which increases isolation and effects the development of thechild - even if the primary caregiver is ever present. From the 1950s anincreased development of the nuclear family has been argued to provide a duelfunction. In this the family is seen to provide close personal relationshipsand act as an economic strategy for development and to maintain stability andcontrol.

Such evolution of the family has beencharacterised by transience and isolation of family units from the extendedfamily and community itself. A close knit extended family can provide moreoptions for child care and support where as otherwise external methods of care areneeded. If maternal proximity with the under fives is crucial then entirecommunities would be maladjusted by design and this clearly cannot be heldacross the board.

Again the issue of consistency andquality over quantity of child care can be bought to view. Popular media alongwith welfare policies have in recent years sought to not only improve childcare and rearing practices, provide support, normalise differing householdsituations such as lone parent, and expansion and regulation of child day careprovision. Feminist theory has been at the forefront of womens re- entry toworkforce as well as a normalisation of divorce and single parent orco-habiting (step) households. On the other hand the feminist push for womensemployment rights has resulted in inevitable contradictions as women are pulledin both directions, and indeed even the act of having children at all iscurrently considered heavily in an economic light due to the increased cost ofliving and childcare fees.

Nowadays we can see increasedgovernmental intervention in support of the family in the form of lengtheningmaternity and paternity and parenting care rights, childrens rights, taxcredits, flexible working, child care and pre-school provisions and subsidies,and the importance of family environment and child security building in issuesof fostering and child protection. Thus the family by whatever shape of form itmay take in the UK is heavily affected by economic requirement and governmentpolicy provision. It is now the norm for women to work as well as beresponsible for child care and household upkeep. Subsequently it is the normfor mothers to be separated from babies before their first birthday due to monetaryneed - and often this has to be longer than desirable due to a cycle ofeconomic need and high child care fees.

Overall, I can conclude that Bowlbysideas although outdated have persisted through the decades and still influencechild rearing and day care decisions. It can be seen as persisting ingovernmental policy to this day for example, in maternity leave being extendedto cover twelve months leave - Bowlby would surely support this move. In allBowlbys ideas of attachment and primary parental care giving remain pervasiveand are ingrained within the family unit in the UK, although an acknowledgementof multiple attachments and quality of child care are now highlighted oversimply the primary care givers proximity.

Example Childcare Essay:In the light of changes to the family since 1950 are Bowlbys ideas about care for young children still relevant today? 8.5 of 10 on the basis of 2459 Review.