Child BondingThesis: Bonding does not refer to mutual affection between a baby and an adult,but to the phenomenon whereby adults become committed by a one-way flow ofconcern and affection to children for whom they have cared during the firstmonths and years of life. I. The importance of bonding or attachment in anindividual’s life.
A. Friend acquaintances B. A mother-child attachment 1. Thepower and importance of such a bond 2. How it paves the way for futureattachments II. The elements that are important to a mother-child bond.
A. TouchB. Eye-to-Eye contact, voice and entertainment C. Odor among other things III.
Bonding as it relates to breastfeeding A. The importance of breastfeeding to thebond development IV. Bonding and the hyperactive child A. The impact of bondingon hyperactivity B. Dealing with hyperactivity 1. Its believed origin V.
Bondingand Divorce The problem associated with divorce as it relates to Children andthe bond between both parents In each person’s life much of the joy and sorrowrevolves around attachments or affectionate relationships — making them,breaking them, preparing for them, and adjusting to their loss by death. Amongall of these bonds as a special bond — the type a mother or father forms withhis or her newborn infant. Bonding does not refer to mutual affection between ababy and an adult, but to the phenomenon whereby adults become committed by aone-way flow of concern and affection to children for whom they have caredduring the first months and years of life. According to J.
Robertson in his bookA Baby in the Family: Loving and Being loved, individuals may have from threehundred to four hundred acquaintances in there lifetimes, but at any one timethere are only a small number of persons to whom they are closely attached. Heexplains that much of the richness and beauty of life is derived from theseclose relationships which each person has with a small number of individuals –mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, and a small cadreof close friends (Robertson 1). A mother?s love is a crude offering, andaccording to Kennell and Klaus. In heir book Parent-Infant Bonding, there is apossessiveness in it, there’s appetite in it.
There is also a “Drat theKid” element in it, there’s generosity in it, there’s power in it, as wellas humility. However sentimentality is outside of it altogether and is repugnantto mothers (Kennell and Klaus 1). Some argue that attachment is one qualitativefeature of the emotional tie to the partner. The operationalization of theconstruct (attachment) to determine the presence or absence has to be done bysome measure of the interaction between partners, and Joe Mercer in Mothers’Responses to their infants with defects says: The mothers either respond to herinfant?s cries with affectionate behaviors and evokes the infantsinteracting to suggest the infant is a central part of her life, or she does. The infant either shows preferential responses to the mother, responds to herverbal and tactile stimulation, or does not.
(Mercer 17). He further goes on toexplain that it is easier for the infant to say the tie to the mother is absent,but the psychological complexity of adults make it far more difficult to say amother has no bond to her infant (Mercer 19). Attachment is crucial to thesurvival and development of the infant. Kenneth and Klaus points out that theparents bond to their child may be the strongest of all human ties (Kennell andKlaus 3).
This relationship has two unique characteristics. First, before birthone individual infant gestates within a part of the mother body and second,after birth she ensures his survival while he is utterly dependent on her anduntil he becomes a separate individual. According to Mercer, the power of thisattachment is so great that it enables the mother and father to make the unusualsacrifices necessary for the care of their infant. Day after day, night afternight; changing diapers, attending to cries, protecting the child from danger,and giving feed in the middle of the night despite their desperate need to sleep(Mercer 22). It is important to note that this original parent-infant tie is themajor source for all of the infant?s subsequent attachment and is theformative relationship in the course of which the child develops a sense ofhimself. Throughout his lifetime the strength and character of this attachmentwill influence the quality of all future ties to other individuals.
The questionis asked, “What is the normal process by which a father and mother becomeattached to a healthy infant?” Well, since the human infant is whollydependent on his mother or caregiver to meet all his physical and emotionalneeds the strength and durability of the attachment may well determine whetheror not he will survive and develop optimally. Experimental data suggest that thepast experiences of the mother are a major determinant in molding hercare-giving role. Children use adults, especially loved and powerful adults, asmodels for their own behavior. Children development literature states that thepowerful process of imitation or modeling socially inclines children. Kennelland Klaus explain that unless adults consciously and painstakingly reexaminethese learned behaviors, they will unconsciously repeat them when they becomeparents (Kennell and Klaus 11).
Thus the way a woman was raised, which includesthe practices of her culture and the individual idiosyncrasies of her ownmother’s child raising practices greatly influences her behavior toward her woninfant. Bob Brazelton in The Early Mother-Infant Adjustment says that, “Itmay seem to many that attachment to a small baby will come naturally and to maketoo much of it could be a mistake. . .
but there are many, many women who have adifficult time making this adjustment. . . (Brazelton 10).
He points out that wemust understand the ingredients of attachment in order to help, because eachmother-child dyad is unique and has individual needs of it’s own (Brazelton 12). Mercers says that the developing parent attachment is evidenced during pregnancyas both parents fondly pat and rub the fetus through the thinning abdominal wall(Mercer 31). It might be argued that the length of breastfeeding is not a validassessment of the strength of bond between mother and infant since it is culturebound. According to Violet Oaklander in Windows to our Children, too manyvariables influence a woman’s decision to continue breastfeeding to make it avalid assessment of bonding. She explains that a woman who discontinuesbreastfeeding to return to work four weeks after delivery can be just as bondedas a breastfeeding mother who takes a nine-month maternity leave. Similarly, sheexplains, the initial decision to breastfeed must be continuously used in theassessment of bonding (Oaklander 102).
A mother’s decision to breastfeed may bean indication of her willingness to give of herself to her infant, which ischaracteristic of bonding. However a mother who decides to bottle feed in orderto give her infant the best “American start” is giving of herself inan equally healthy, but different way. The parent-infant (father as well asmother) relationship is a continuing process of adaptation to one another’sneeds, and parents should be aware that all is not lost if early contact is notpossible. However, it should emphasized that it should be the mother’s choice todetermine how much time she spends with her infant in the hospital. “Whenit is possible for parents to be together with their babies, in privacy, for thefirst hour, and throughout the hospital stay, the most beneficial and supportiveenvironment for the beginning of the bonding process is established”, (Kennelland Klaus 57). According to Oaklander, “A most important behavioral systemthat serves to bind mother and infant together is the mothers interest intouching her baby” (Oaklander 151).
Eye-to-Eye contact serves the purposeof giving a real identity or personification to the baby, as well as getting arewarding feedback of the mother (Oaklander 45). The mother’s voice is anotherimportant element as well as entertainment. Although the infant moves in rhythmto his mother’s voice and thus may be driven to be affected by her. On the otherhand, the infant’s movements according to Oaklander, may reward the mother andstimulate her to continue (Oaklander 136).
Another important element is odor. Rolland Macfarlene in The Relationship Between Mother ad Neonate, found that bythe 5th day of life, breastfeeding infants can discriminate their mother ownbreast pad from the breast pads from that of other mothers with significantreliability (Macfarlene 63). Brazelton commenting on the bonding process says:The complexity of available systems for the mother to use in making the initialattachment to the baby are obviously a kind of fail-safe system for assuring thenewborn of a caring environment. We should be aware of the richness of these andutilize as many as we can as we try to lock a new mother into her baby’suniqueness (Brazelton 79).
According to Claire Berman in her book Adult Childrenof Divorce Speaks out, parents need to understand that the bonding which willtake place in the earlier stages of the infants life is very important indetermining the overall type of individual that child will grow up to be (Berman16). Mark A. Stewart in Raising a Hyperactive Child, says: . .
. There are somehomes in which children are raised so permissively or so haphazardly that theyare never taught how to listen to someone else. Neither are they taught how tostick to a task, or how to control their impulsive behavior because there neverwas a great bond created between the child and parents. .
. (Stewart 23). Stewartcontinues by pointing out that these children will, of course be at adisadvantage when they venture outside the home, to school or to otherchildren’s home or in other situations where they are injected to exert somecontrol over their behavior (Stewart 23). Stewart also stresses the importanceof parents teaching their children how to socialize and behave in public.
Hesays, “if there is a bond between the parents and child there will never bea problem when it comes to one parent getting the child to do what?sright” (Stewart 24). If a child has been brought up in a very unstructuredenvironment without a reliable pattern to depend on, in a chaotic homeatmosphere, he will tend to exhibit some of the traits of hyperactivity. Asstated by Stewart there is a widespread but mistaken assumption that behaviordetermined by inheritance, or by damage to the brain cannot be influences. Hebelieves that a mother’s love is one of the most powerful of all influences whenit comes to what the child will be in the future (Stewart 30).
In dealing withthe problem of disobedience in the child, Stewart goes on to say: The first andmost important step in management is, that whatever a mother says, always mustbe done?. For this reason, do not require too much; and on no accountallow your child to do at one time, what you have forbidden him to do at another(Stewart 127). Claire Berman explains that it is not only the mother-childbonding that is important, but also the father-mother-child that really counts. She explains that parents need to understand that their bonding should not bedissolve after 2,3,5 or even 10 years, it is something that should last alifetime and be taken into consideration at every bend along the long and dreadpathway of life (Berman 21). According to Susan Meyers in her book Who Will Takethe Children? makes it clear that no one factor can be held responsible forshaping the kind of person one becomes or the ways in which an individual tendsto look at things (Meyers 30). She further explains that many elements impactupon people’s lives, from the genes we inherit to the families we are born intoand the communities in which the child grows up (Meyers 31).
As pointed out byBerman, “Divorce is one of the worst things that can happen between parentsduring the early years of a child?s life, not only can divorce break allthe bonds which were previously established, but is something that can leave thechildren with lots of baggage. “(Meyers 30) Berman later points out thatwhen children learn that a vow or bond can be broken (and divorce writes the endto the marital vow), they face life with uncertainty. When they do not receivethe nurturing that?s needed, they are likely to enter into healthyrelationships (Berman 35). Berman states the case of a thirty-four-year-oldwoman whose parents divorced when she was thirteen. The woman asks, “whenyour parents betray you and break the bond between them and their child, thenwho do you trust?” Is it a rhetorical question? She goes on to explain,”for years I had the feeling that everyone was out to get me.
It took me along time to trust anyone. ” (Berman 36) Maybe now people (parents) willcome to realize that bonding does not only refer to mutual affection between ababy and an adult. But it is the phenomenon whereby adults become committed by aone-way flow of concern and affection for whom they have cared during the firstmonths and years of life. BibliographyBerman, Claire. Adult Children of Divorce Speak Out.
New York: Simon andSchuster, 1991. Brazelton, Bob. The Early Mother-Infant Adjustment. Amsterdam:Elsevier Publishing Co. 1973.
Kennell, John and Marshall Klaus. Parent-InfantBonding. Missouri: The C. V.
Mosby Company, 1976. Macfarlene, Rolland. TheRelationship between Mother & Neonate. New York: Oxford University Press,1978. Mercer, Joe. Mother’s Response to Their Infants with Defects.
New York:Charles B. Slack Inc. , 1974. Meyers, Susan. Who Will Take the Children?Indianapolis/New – York: Bobbe-Mervil, 1983. Oaklander, Violet.
Windows to ourChildren. Utah: Real People- Press, 1978. Robertson, J. A Baby in the Family:Loving and being loved. London: Penguin Books, Ltd.
, 1982. Stewart, Mark A. Raising a Hyperactive Child. London: Harper and Row Publishers, 1973.