xiong862: November 2011 Archives

The Questions Never End

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In lecture, Professor Jeff Simpson covered attachment theory. Ainsworth and her fellow scientists discovered three attachment patterns in children. The three patterns were secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. Parents of secure children were attentive and caring toward their children. Parents of avoidant children were inattentive and detached in regards to their children. Finally, parents of anxious-ambivalent children had good intentions, but they didn't know how to act as a parent or were distracted.
Attachment theory is important because it helps explain the dynamics of the parent-child relationship and how that affects the behavior of the child in that relationship. This theory can help account for flaws in parental behavior and possibly steer that behavior in a better direction. Attachment theory can also help explain the behaviors of people later in life as they undergo growth from child to adult. This particular theory may also be useful for predicting or identifying criminal behavior in teens and adults. In essence, attachment theory can be used to help explain human behavior in many contexts.
There are still many questions on my mind as I ponder different aspects of attachment theory. Is attachment theory applied differently based on the number of children parents have? Is this same theory applicable based on the number of boys and/or girls parents have? How does culture affect parenting style? Is there a point where parents give too much attention to their children? The list goes on and many variables may need to be considered. That is the beauty of science. The questions never end.

Fathers and Children

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From the Lilienfield text, the role of the father is discussed on page 389-390. The text presents differences in parental involvement with children between fathers and mothers. Fathers do not appear to pay as much attention to nor do they seem as loving of their babies as mothers. Fathers do not spend as much time with their babies as mothers (Golombok, 2000). Also, fathers engage with their children in physical play more often than mothers (Parke, 1996). Finally, boys and girls have a tendency to choose their fathers as playmates rather than their mothers (Clarke-Stewart, 1980).
Of particular importance, is how attentive and affectionate fathers are in comparison to mothers as well as how much time fathers spend time with their children. Overall, society says that mothers spend more time with their children than fathers. This societal belief is even more strongly imbedded in certain cultures. It was found that sons with poor relationships with their fathers were more likely to have poor relationships and parenting for their own sons (Doherty, 1991). Thus, strained relationships between fathers and sons may carry onto future generations through father-son interactions. It is important for fathers to be involved in their children's lives despite what societal and cultural norms dictate. Such endeavors are beneficial to the development of the children as well for society and culture.

Source: Doherty, W. J. (1991). Beyond reactivity and the deficit model of manhood: A commentary on articles by Napier, Pittman, and Gottman. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 17, 29-32.

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