Bonding and Attachment

There are many studies that highlight the importance of bonding and attachment.

Attachment theory

 *  Children are born with the innate desire to seek security and relationships from a primary caregiver
 *  Parents are seen as a secure base. Although a child will explore the world, they return to the parent, or make eye contact and check back when they need reassurance.
 *  Secure attachment happens when parents are able to recognise the cues of their child’s behaviour and support the child

At birth, a baby recognises a parent’s voice and prefers this to other voices (DeCasper, 1980) 

Pre-birth, a baby will learn a repeated stimulus.

Positive interaction, such as stories, songs, rhymes and play, is a key component to helping a child develop. All these activities help to form positive parent and child relationships which form connections in a child’s brain, leading to development of key areas of emotional regulation, which in turn helps a child to develop emotional self-regulation. (Golding and Hughes p.24)

Parent-child bond
Sir Richard Bowlby initially proposed that the theory of the parent-child bond should be called ‘Theory of Love’. However, he felt that science would not take it seriously if it was called the ‘Theory of Love’ and that therefore 'bonding' or 'attachment theory' would be taken much more seriously. 

How do stories, songs and rhymes help to foster secure attachment?

  • Stories, songs and rhymes include elements of touch such as cuddling or tickling. This helps parents and children bond and develop their relationship.
  • Many songs and rhymes involve face to face interaction. Eye contact helps to develop communication skills and a secure and trusting relationship.


Still Face Experiment    

In this experiment, parents play and interact with their baby face to face. An experimenter then asks the parent to turn away and look back at their baby but with a neutral gaze  The infant will try to engage the mother. However, when the mother remains neutral and disengaged the baby becomes obviously distressed and uncomfortable. The baby will attempt to engage the mother, but after several attempts, they give up. (Cohn and Tronick, 1983)