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Alan Challoner MA MChS
From the evidence that he had found, Bowlby believed that if there was a delay in a child becoming attached then this was usually because the infant, for one reason or another, had experienced much less social stimulation from his mother-figure than did those whose development had been faster. Ainsworth (1963, 1967) reported that when the mothers of each of twenty-seven children (Ugandan) were rated on a seven-point scale in regard to the amount of care that each gave her baby, the only mothers to be rated in the lowest two categories were the mothers of the non-attached infants. These mothers regularly left their babies for long periods, and shared the mothering of their child with others, even when they themselves were available. When the total amount of care each baby received, whether from mother or someone else, was considered, these babies remained in a very low category in comparison with all but one of the infants who became attached. Smith has described the creation of a programme designed to enhance the attachment of a baby to its parents. It was designed to meet the needs of first-time parents and they came mostly from the middle-class. The scope of the programme included instruction of parents in: • • • • the importance of playing with their babies; how to respond to their babies’ needs; how to successfully read the babies’ signals and the way to interact; to build an amalgam of self-confidence in the parental rôle.
The study also aimed to bring about an understanding of the other important rôle of parenthood to establish, through choice and education, a better environment that in turn would create a richer experience for the child as it developed. The programme proved to be satisfying for both teachers and participants and it was believed that it achieved its goals by promoting the development of healthy self-images in the children.[Smith,1984]
Ainsworth, M. D. The development of infant-mother interaction among the Ganda. In Determinants of Infant Behaviour, Vol. 2, B. M. Foss. [Ed.] London: Methuen; New York: Wiley; 1963. Ainsworth, M. D. S. Infancy in Uganda: Infant care and the growth of love. Baltimore MD.: Johns Hopkins Press; 1967. Smith, M.O. Building self-confidence in the parent-infant relationship. Child Welfare, 63(6); [pp., 547-552]; 1984.