Last Modified: 2011-10-11
Basic trust vs. mistrust (birth-1 year)
From warm, responsive care, infants gain a sense of trust, or confidence, that the world is good. Mistrust occurs when infants have to wait too long for comfort and are handled harshly.
Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (1-3 years)
Using new mental and motor skills, children want to choose and decide for themselves. Autonomy is fostered when parents permit reasonable free choice and do not force or shame the child.
Newborns: global arousal states of pleasant (content) and unpleasant (distress).
6-10 weeks: Parent’s communication evokes a broad grin called the social smile.
3-4 months: Infants begin to laugh at very active stimuli. Infants perceive facial expressions as organized patterns and can match the emotion in voices and faces.
- (birth-6 weeks) Built-in-signals (smiling, crying, etc) help bring newborn babies into close contact with other humans, who comfort them.
- (6 weeks to 6-8 months) Infants respond differently to a familiar caregiver than to a stranger.
- (6-8 months to 18 months-2 years) Babies display separation anxiety, becoming upset when the adult whom they have come to rely on leaves.
- (18 months-2 years and on) Separation protest declines because children now can understand factors that influence the parent’s coming and going.
- Exhibit distress when separated.
- Show pleasure when reunited.
- Exhibit distress when stranger approaches, especially if mother is not present.
- More likely to explore a new environment, if mother or caregiver is present.
(Mary Ainsworth): A procedure involving short separations from and reunions with the parent that assesses the quality of the attachment bond.
Infants use parent as a secure base. When separated, they may or may not cry, but if they do, it is because the parent is absent and they prefer her to the stranger. When the parent returns, they actively seek contact and their crying is reduced immediately.
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