ERIC Number: ED253335
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
The Detached or Inured Child. Unit for Child Studies Selected Papers Number 31.
The normal, biologically adaptive development of attachment between the human infant under 3 years of age and mother/caregivers contrasts with the Anglo-Saxon cultural belief that babies should be accustomed to unpleasantness. Separation of hospitalized children from their mothers, as frequently done in the past, has resulted in psychological damage to the children. Such damage displays three sequential aspects: protest; despair; and, finally, emotional detachment. "Damaged" behaviors that an insecurely attached child may exhibit include anxious attachment, compensatory behavior, superficiality in relationships, regression and testing behaviors, and schizoid psychopathology. The extent of separation influences the extent to which detachment becomes a psychological state. Reattachments and trust-of-others may be superficial, covering a very brittle, despairing personality. It often may be the case that, despite immaturity, the 7-, 8- or 9-year-old detached child may decide to take charge of his or her own life due to inability to trust an adult. In contrast, the securely attached, normally developing child moves at around the fourth year from the emphasis on psychological attachment toward exploratory behaviors and learning to interact with other children. The child who learns by gradual separation tends to be less vulnerable to damage and more able to maintain the trusting aspect of personality and to be emotionally intimate. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New South Wales Univ., Kensington (Australia). School of Education.
Note: For related documents, see ED 204 029-037, ED 212 382-390, ED 250 087-098, and PS 014 894-898. Paper based on seminar presented at the Unit for Child Studies (3rd, Kensington, Australia, April 1984).