In the garage of the home were the birthday party was being held, I observed a 9-month-old infant girl. She was sitting in her high chair next to her mother, the mother was sitting at the table with a plate of food eating and socializing with other adults at the table. The mother and infant were both eating, when the mother finished her food and decided to get up to get more. As she walked away from the table the infant began to make grunting noises and whimper while reaching her hands towards her mother. The other adults tried to comfort her but she was persistent in reaching and crying out for her mother.
Upon returning the mother looked at her infant, brushed her hand against the side of her face, and said, “It’s okay, I’m back mija. ” The infant settled down and her mother fed her some more food. The infant smiled and giggled at her mother as she was being fed and given attention too. After infant and mother finished eating, the mother picked up their plates and threw them away. She came back and picked up her infant and walked to a homemade ball pit. As they were walking over to the ball pit they were stopped by one of the mother’s friend.
The mother and friend stood and talked for a little while. The mother’s friend asked to hold the infant and began to hug and kiss her. The infant began to push and squirm in the friend’s arms while screaming and crying. The mother said to her friend, “I’m sorry, she always does this when she is held by someone she doesn’t know! ” At this point the infant was trying to reach towards her mother with tears rolling down her face. The mother took her from her friend and they walked towards the ball pit and other stations that were set up for the children.
The infant and mother went around from station to station doing different activities. At the ball pit, the mother sat the infant in the ball pit, where other children were also playing. The mother pulled her phone out and began to take pictures of her infant playing. The infant was playing with the balls when she started to crawl towards the edge of the ball pit. She grabbed on to the edge and pulled herself up in to a standing position. The mother was observing her, standing near to where the infant was.
The infant was holding on with both hands sitting down and getting back up. On the last occasion that she got up she released her hands and could not keep her balance and fell backwards. The infant began to cry and the mother quickly picked her up, hugged her, rubbed her back, gave her kisses and said, “It’s okay princess, mommy’s here! ” Application: What is illustrated, or demonstrated, by these events based on topic presented in class and/or the book? Sigelman and Rider (2015) state that according to Ainsworth and Bowlby, an infant’s attachment progresses through four phases.
The infant in this observations appears to be in the active proximity seeking stage because she protested when the mother left to get more food and was happy when her mother came back to the table where they were she was sitting at. Sigelman and Rider (2015) suggest that most often this is the first clear sign of attachment and it happens most often to their mothers. The infant’s father was not there but because the other adults at the table could not comfort her it is clear that she has begun or has already formed an attachment with her mother.
Stranger anxiety was observed when the friend of the mother held, hugged and kissed the infant. According to Sigelman and Rider (2015) stranger anxiety is a fearful reaction to a person he or she does not know. The crying and screaming accompanied by the tears indicated that the infant did not know or want to be held by the mother’s friend. The mother also helped clarify that her friend was indeed a stranger when she apologized for the reaction of her infant. The infant was in distress because she did not recognize or know the person who was holding her.
Sigelman and Rider (2015) suggest that Ainsworth’s Strange Situation test uses stranger anxiety to asses the quality of the attachment between parents and infants. By merely relying on the stranger anxiety the infant in this observation would be classified as having a secure type of attachment. Contact comfort was demonstrated in this session in all of the observations mentioned in the anecdotal notes above. Sigelman and Rider (2015) state that Harlow’s research demonstrated that contact comfort was a pleasurable tactile sensation that is given by a parent or a warm caregiver.
In the first portion this is observed when the mother comes back from getting more food and brushed her hand softly against the side of the infant’s face. In the second portion, the mother demonstrates contact comfort by taking her from the friend and holding her until she has calmed down. In the third portion, the mother demonstrates this concept by picking her up from the ball pit, hugging, rubbing her back, and telling her she was there for her. Reaction/Learning (What you learned) From this observation I learned that infants are forming a strong attachment to their caregiver, and in this case to her mother.
I also see that it is important to note that attachments work in both ways. A parent must give a child the opportunity to form an attachment with them. The way that a parent acts or treats their child can affect the type of attachment that they have. Providing a tactile contact to an infant for comfort is important because the child will learn to trust and rely on the caregiver. The contributions that a caregiver provides for a child can also affect the style of attachment and type of emotions he or she will display towards the parent.
I was not surprised that although the infant was very attached to her mother during the observation other children that were playing around her at the stations did not frighten her. She seemed curious and eager to explore the environment and other infant and younger children, as long as her mother was near by. Those actions demonstrated to me that the infant and the mother had a secure attachment. The actions taken by the mother also reinforces the thought that the contributions that a parent gives a child can effect their attachment.