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No matter what the “it” refers to, Sigmund Freud would have probably said yes to that question.However, we now know a lot more about psychology, parenting, and human relationships than Freud did.
What factors contribute to their experiences of anxiety, avoidance, and fulfillment when it comes to relationships?
Psychologists can say pretty conclusively that it’s not entirely the mother’s fault or even the fault of both parents.
The question posed above is tongue-in-cheek, but it touches upon an important discussion in psychology—what influences children to turn out the way they do?
What affects their ability to form meaningful, satisfying relationships with those around them?
This idea grew into a strategy of helping children by helping their parents, a generally effective strategy given the importance of the child’s relationships with their parents (or other caregivers).
At roughly the same time Bowlby was creating the foundations for his theory on attachment, Mary Ainsworth was finishing her graduate degree and studying security theory, which proposed that children need to develop a secure dependence on their parents before venturing out into unfamiliar situations.The development of this theory gives us an interesting look into the study of child development.Bowlby’s interest in child development traces back to his first experiences out of college, in which he volunteered at a school for maladjusted children.These behaviors make up what Bowlby termed an “attachment behavioral system,” the system that guides us in our patterns and habits of forming and maintaining relationships (Fraley, 2010).Research on Bowlby’s theory of attachment showed that infants placed in an unfamiliar situation and separated from their parents will generally react in one of three ways upon reunion with the parents: In later years, researchers added a fourth attachment style to this list: the disorganized-disoriented attachment style, which refers to children who have no predictable pattern of attachment behaviors (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004).In the 1950s, Harry Harlow was conducting experiments on love and relationships between parents and children, specifically monkey parents and children.His work showed that motherly love was emotional rather than physiological, that the capacity for attachment is heavily dependent upon experiences in early childhood, and that this capacity was unlikely to change much after it was “set” (Herman, 2012).Harlow discovered these interesting findings by conducting two groundbreaking experiments.In the first experiment, Harlow separated infant monkeys from their mothers a few hours after birth.However, attachment theory takes it one step further, applying what we know about attachment in children to relationships we engage in as adults.These relationships (particularly intimate and/or romantic relationships) are also directly related to our attachment styles as children and the care we received from our primary caregivers (Firestone, 2013).