Chapter Seven: The First Two Years: Psychosocial Development The first emotion that can be discerned in newborns is distress, with sadness developing next. Babies gradually acquire the capacity to cope with or manage emotionally arousing situations. Newborns have deep sleep after experiencing unpleasantness. By 4 or 5 months, they will turn away from a source of stimulation. United States Surgeon General Newborns show wide-eyed looks of interest or pleasure when something catches their attention. The social smile occurs about six weeks of age. Emotional responses become increasingly immediate, rather than requiring time to build up. All the classic facial expressions of emotion begin to appear regularly. By the end of this period, infants recall past events, anticipate outcomes, and behave intentionally. Their emotional reactions respond to events with particular meanings.
David Satcher released a report in January 2001 describing a mental health crisis in children. Mental illness severe enough to hinder kids from learning or developing appropriately is quite common, but fewer than one in five affected children get the help they need. Mental disorders are a major untreated problem in children. Recognizing and treating conditions such as depression can be a powerful contribution to children's lives. Some children's depression is missed because they appear to have ADHD.
Attachments between infants and caregivers develop in the context of a differentiating emotional and social world. Younger infants' become social partners who can anticipate others' actions, respond to social overtures, and purposefully direct social give-and-take and older infants acquire specific attachments and regulate emotional expression more effectively. The ethnological perspective suggests that many behaviors and emotions of humans and other animals have an adaptive function that furthers the survival of the species.
The First Days and Months Built-in ability to signal psychological and physiological needs in ways adults can interpret and are likely to respond to. Babies will cry, at first due to over excitation of the nervous system.
The capacity to detect contingencies in the environment. Infants notice events caused by their behaviors and repeat these behaviors. Built-in attraction to social stimuli. Newborns are preadapted to respond to facial stimuli, speech sounds, and to look toward auditory stimuli. The baby's inclination to fall in step with the caregiver's behavior. Newborns' smiles are spontaneous discharges of messages from the lower brain structures; parents often attribute higher order emotionality to these smiles which is important for relationship development as it encourages their interactions with the infant (adults are preadapted to interact with infants) Cognitive development makes babies increasingly able to recognize specific people as separate, independent entities who act and can be acted upon. There is the capacity for intentional behavior and a rudimentary sense of self is present. Brain organization underlies emotional changes as well. Between 6 and 12 months, babies' social behavior becomes increasingly organized around their principal caregivers, with purposefulness. Development during this period involves qualitative change.
Studies show that children fare better when their fathers are actively involved in their upbringing. They may even grow up more well-rounded: Researchers have found that fathers play a particularly critical part in encouraging children to break out of sex-role stereotypes. If no father is the home, someone other than the boy's birth father can provide a beneficial male influence. Single mothers can find alternative role models for their boys in an uncle, grandfather, or a good friend.
Further Growth in Emotionality Stranger distress - babies react negatively to strangers; begins around 7 to 10 months and continues for another several months. Stranger wariness. Fear of unfamiliar people, first noticeable in infants at about 6 months of age and usually full-blown by 10 to 14 months.
Separation anxiety. A child's fear
of being left by the caregiver. This emotion emerges at about 8 or 9 months, peaks at about 14 months then gradually subsides. Context influences reactions to strangers. Rapid approach by a stranger and a stranger picking the child up often results in distress. If the caregiver is close by and is not upset by the stranger, the distress is less. Social referencing. Looking to trusted adults for emotional cues in interpreting a strange or ambiguous event. Techniques for emotion regulation expand and become more subtle, flexible, and serviceable (stranger approach example). Moving toward the caregiver and purposeful signaling to the caregiver (e.g., calling, gesturing, emitting distress signals) are now used for coping. It is didactic regulation-is accomplished by caregiver and infant together. Self-awareness. A person's sense of himself or herself as being distinct from other, with particular characteristics.
The Origins of Personality In the first half of the 20th century, the prevailing view among psychologists was that the individual's personality is permanently molded by the actions of his or her parents, especially the mother in the early years of childhood.
Learning Theory. The behaviorist perspective maintains that personality is molded as parents reinforce or punisher their child's various spontaneous behaviors. Later behaviorist incorporated the role of social learning, finding that infants tends to imitate personality traits of their parents, even if they are not directly reinforced for doing so.
The psychoanalytic perspective suggests that the individual's personality is formed and permanently fixed in the early years of childhood. The oral stage, the sexual pleasure is predominantly related to the excitation of the oral cavity and lips, associated with feeding. As the physical ability to control the sphincter matures (2-3 years of age), the child's attention shifts from the oral to the anal zone.
Psychosocial Theory Basic trust vs. basic mistrust Birth to one year Social mistrust demonstrated via ease of feeding, depth of sleep, bowel relaxation Depends on consistency and sameness of experience provided by caretaker Second six-months teething and biting moves infant "from getting to taking" Weaning leads to "nostalgia for lost paradise" If basic trust is strong, child maintains hopeful attitude The toddler struggles between the drive for social control and shame and doubt about oneself and one's abilities
Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt
Temperament refers to an individual infant's general style of behavior across contexts; it includes a variety of behavioral characteristics such as general activity level, irritability, and proneness to distress, reactivity, and inhibition. Thomas and Chess conducted one of the first temperament studies. From their rating system, they derived three clusters of characteristics, resulting in three categories of infant temperament: Easy babies - high biological regularity, readily approached new objects and people, highly adaptable, mostly positive in mood. Difficult babies - biologically irregular, tend to withdraw from novelty, low in adaptability, and intense, mostly negative mood. Slow-to-warm-up - moderate regularity, mildly negative reactions to novelty, but adapted after repeated exposure.
Stability of Temperament Parent report studies did find stability in temperament but had flaws because they did not begin with newborns and parental reports may be biased by expectations. Recent research has attempted to correct these issues. Newborn behavior and later behavior are not highly correlated. By 12 months, there is greater predictability into childhood for characteristics such as frequency of negative and positive emotions and intensity of reactions to stimulation.
Biology of Temperament Infants who are wary in new situations have higher or more variable heart rates and blood pressure than less wary infants do. Associations have been found between hormone levels and a baby's emotional responses. The Genetics of Temperament Many studies show more similarity in temperament between identical twins than between fraternal twins. Yet, environment may play a role, as fraternal twins do not become more similar on temperament traits while identical twins do and twins separated at birth are less similar than identical twins raised together.
Parent-Infant Interaction Some researchers argued that attachment differences can be explained on the basis of temperament differences. More recent research does not support this notion. Quality of attachment refers to organization of behavior with respect to a particular partner while temperament refers to style of behavior regardless of partner. Temperament is related to certain behaviors in the Strange Situation (e.g., tendency to get upset) but not to security of attachment itself. Temperament may help to determine what constitutes sensitive care, and in turn fosters secure attachment, for a particular infant. Match-mismatch hypothesis-care giver and infant characteristics may clash. Early infant characteristics may feed into the quality of care parents provide (affecting attachment). Infant irritability is handled differently by different cultures and SES. Temperament can be related to attachment when an infant's characteristics tax caregivers' ability to cope (e.g., extremely premature infants).
Patterns of Attachment In all but the most extreme cases, infants become attached to a caregiver. As Bowlby noted, when infants experience sensitive care, they become confident the caregiver will be responsive, giving the infant a secure base for exploration. This is what Erikson meant by trust and Bowlby meant by secure attachment. The negative result is mistrust or insecure/anxious attachment. Quality of attachment is usually assessed by placing infants in a laboratory procedure called the Strange Situation, where an infant is left alone briefly with a stranger after the mother leaves the room, and then is reunited with mother in the room. Reactions are thought to reveal attachment quality. Most infants (around 70 percent) form a secure attachment; they use their mothers as secure bases for exploration, seek and receive comfort from them,
and show positive emotional responses to them. Infants with an anxious attachment are unable to use the caregiver as a secure base for exploration. In anxious-resistant attachment, infants have trouble separating from their mothers to explore, yet show ambivalence toward contact with them. In the face of inconsistent or chaotic care, these infants may be called upon to respond with great intensity to get the caregiver to respond adequately. In anxious-avoidant attachment, infants separate readily from their mothers and avoid them when mothers return after a brief separation. The more stress there is, the more they avoid her. Result of past rejection from the caregiver. In disorganized-disoriented attachment, infants have no consistent way of interacting with their caregivers. Show contradictory features. Often the result of abusive in the infant-care giver relationship Attachment between parent and children becomes apparent toward the end of the first ear. Secure attachment tends to predict curiosity, social competence, and self-assurance later in childhood; insecure attachment tends to correlate with less successful adaptation in these areas. Parents own attachment histories also tend to correlate with patterns of parent-infant attachment.
Getting Attached Strong maternal bond fails to help adults, scientist says Challenging a popular belief about human development, a researcher claims to have found that the security of a baby's attachment to its mother does not influence how well-adjusted that child will be later in life. Events like divorce, disease and accidents are far more important in shaping a child's well-being at age 18 than any early bonding with his or her mother, said Dr. Michael Lewis, a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and director of the Institute for the Study of Child Development at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, Canada.
Lewis based his conclusion on a study of 84 children examined at age 1 in terms of maternal attachment and again at age 18 in terms of adult attachment to family and friends. Secure attachment in infancy did not prevent maladjustment at age 18, Lewis said, and insecure attachment in infancy did not predict trouble during adolescence. In the second year, the toddler's world widens as playgroups and day-care setting provide opportunities for children to expand their social understanding and repertoire of social skills.