Based Wittenborn, 2010). However, the attachments formed in

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Based
off the definition that child refers to an individual under the age of 18, as
specified by The Children Act of 1989 (NSPCC), findings indicate that the link
between attachment in infancy and later developmental outcomes for children is
a reasonably weak one. Despite attachment being found to hold some influence
over a child’s resilience and other developmental outcomes, the changing nature
of attachment, alongside the role of the environment such as education and
social factors that influence later child development, all highlight that the
link between attachment in infancy and later developmental outcomes for
children is a reasonably weak one.

Attachment
can be argued to influence a child’s resilience in difficult circumstances such
as the trauma of sexual abuse (Beaudoin, Hébert & Bernier, 2013) and parental
divorce (Faber & Wittenborn, 2010). However, the attachments formed in
infancy are subject to change; they are a product of the environment and as
such cannot be used as a medium to predict future developmental outcomes for
children. In the extreme circumstance of sexual abuse, the quality of the
attachment an infant has with a parental figure can help the child adapt and
develop resilience to cope with difficult circumstances (Beaudoin, Hérbert
& Bernier, 2013). This is to such an extent that following the experience
of sexual abuse, the child’s attachment to their parents was the greatest
contributing factor to their actions, more so than age, parental distress and
even the specifics and the severity of the abuse they suffered (Beaudoin, et
al., 2013). On the surface this paper can be seen to support the idea that
there is actually a very strong link between attachment and later childhood
development, but the paper addresses only pre-school age children. Assuming the
term pre-schooler is used in relation to participants 5 years and under, since
pre-schoolers refer to a child being under the age admission for school (Oxford
English Dictionary, n.d.) whilst it is the law in the UK that any child once
they reach the term after their fifth birthday must be in education (Sellgren,
2014) of as  while they are still
classified as children, there is still a large amount of time left until the
child reaches eighteen in order for the environmental factors to further
influence later child development. The mean age of the pre-schooler
participants was 4.8 years old, with a standard deviation of .87, the majority
of the participants were very close in age to the mean and so the extreme
values in the range three to six years of age are poorly represented in
comparison. Moreover, the sample used in the paper are likely to suffer from
sampling bias, given the age of the child participants and the physical
dependency they have on their caregivers may mean that only a certain type of
parent would participate in the study, moreover the study is already influenced
by the parent-child relationship as it relies on pre-school age children to
tell their caregiver and for their caregiver to find them help. So, it is fair
to argue that although this paper can provide insight into the potential power
of attachment influencing a child’s resiliency, it’s sample does significantly
detract from the claims of the paper and consequently can’t provide a strong
rebuttal for the conclusion that the link between attachment in infancy and
later child development is a reasonably weak one. Faber and Wittenborn (2010),
suggest that being securely attached to one parent may encourage resiliency in
children to cope with difficult circumstances such as parental divorce and
remarriage. The behavioural problems that often result from the split is
attributed, in this paper, to the disruption of security in attachment to the
parents, which can be either temporary or permanent. Moreover, the paper
emphasises the importance of therapeutic intervention as a means of overcoming
the disruption to the child’s attachment to the parents, using the Mitchell
family as a case study. Consequently, the paper provides evidence for the
notion that attachments developed in infancy are subject to change and
therefore isn’t necessarily a fair or even a suitable predictor of behaviour as
a securely attached well behaved child can develop behavioural problems when
faced with the situation of parental divorce and remarriage. As a result, the
paper highlights that the link between attachment in infancy and later child
development is a reasonably weak one.

This
view is echoed in the argument that environmental factors can moderate the
potential effects of attachment security on a child’s internal and external
behaviour, in particular the influential power of education: teacher-child
conflict can result in externalised behaviour whilst lacking attention from the
teacher can cause the child to exhibit increasingly internalised behaviours
(O’Connor, Collins & Supplee, 2012). The paper examined the child-teacher
relationship through questionnaires using a five-point Likert scale. A key
issue with the methodology of the paper is that the teachers involved in the
study were reporting their treatment of the child on a Likert scale
questionnaire, for which there are two key issues: firstly the findings of the
paper can be argued to lack some credibility given that the teachers are likely
to want to portray themselves well and secondly, Likert scale responses are
very much open to interpretation, what one individual views as frequent,
another may view as occasionally or rarely. Having said this, the findings of
O’Connor et al.’s (2012) paper can somewhat be validated by the various papers
that echo the importance of education: education acts as a moderator for the
development of aggression, more specifically for the development of aggression
in relation to malignant prejudice (Parens, 2012). In his paper, Parens (2012),
argues that there are two factors, both environmental, that can cause the
benign prejudice rooted in every individual to become malignant. Benign
prejudice is argued by Parens (2012) to be natural and simply a product of
infant attachments forming a personality capable of the intent to harm. The two
factors presented as responsible for the switch from benign to malignant
prejudice are internalised hate from abusive or harsh parenting and education,
the two environmental factors emphasise that initial attachments made as an
infant do not necessarily determine later child development and so the link
between attachment in infancy and later developmental outcomes for children is
a reasonably weak one.

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The
role of the environment is mediating the potential effects of attachment can
also be found in adolescence: the relationship between low security
parent-child attachment and both direct and indirect aggression can be mediated
by the individual themselves, such as through the individual’s cognitive
distortions, whilst the relationship between attachment and delinquent
behaviour is moderated by social factors, for example, deviant peers and
parental monitoring (De Vries, Hoeve, Stams, & Asscher, 2016), all of which
indicate that there is a strong link between environmental factors on later
child development that goes beyond attachments formed in infancy. The strong
influence of parental monitoring can be seen in the fact that it can reduce
heavy alcohol consumption in adolescents, an effect that is especially poignant
in boys (Van der Vorst, Engels, Meeus, & Dekovi?, 2006). The paper (Van der
Vorst, et al., 2006) also challenges the view that secure attachment is in fact
indicative of higher self-control, less externalised behaviour as well as
better language development (Moullin, 2017), since secure parent-child
attachment did not prevent heavy adolescent drinking, nor did it reduce it in
the way that parental monitoring was able to (Van der Vorst, et al., 2006),
further supporting the idea that infant-parent attachment security is not a
predictor of future child development. Bowlby (2005) himself noted that
attachments were not theorized to predict behaviour or later childhood
development since future development isn’t fixed, it is largely influenced by
how the child is treated, again supporting this idea of parental monitoring,
the way the child is treated will have the greater impact on later child
development. There are, as demonstrated, a number of environmental factors that
act to mediate and influence development and as such the link between
attachment in infancy and later child development is a reasonably weak one.

Attachment security can’t predict the development of behavioural issues
or any other trait that is potentially deemed undesirable in later childhood.
Pasalich, Dadds, Hawes, and Brennan (2012) concluded that disorganised/disorientated
attachment is liked to higher levels of callous-unemotional traits, yet the
paper yet had to admit that 25% of their sample of 55 boys rated highly for
callous-unemotional traits by multiple informants showed secure attachment
relationships. 

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