Outcome 1- Understand the importance of positive attachment for the well being of children and young people summarise theories of attachment
Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969).
So what are the attachment theories focusing on? Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners. In my line of work, I have to focus on the parental and child attachment rather than the romantic partner one. Bowlby (the creator and psychologist that researched into attachment theories) believed that the attachment that a child has from a young age affects how they will be when they are grown up. He came up with 3 different categories: secure attachment, ambivalent attachment, and avoidant attachment. Secure attachment- where a child shows distress when the care giver leaves them and shows obvious joy on their return. Ambivalent attachment- when the care giver leaves, the child is also distressed, but once they return, the child does not settle and in some cases, the child might passively reject the parent by refusing comfort, or may openly display direct aggression toward the parent. Avoidant attachment- the child shows no emotion or change in the care giver leaving, or coming back.
Explain why positive attachment is important for children and young people A positive attachment starts when a child/ young person knows they are getting the basic needs met and feel secure by their parents’ care givers. When a children/ young person feel comfortable after this, they can then separate more easily from them and they are more likely to part take in the play and learning activities if they are secure emotionally. When children have strong relationships or are able to have them, they are less likely to show unwanted behaviour or conduct negative behaviour to gain attention. Positive attachment is also good for young people/children’s language as it develops more quickly because they feel confident talking to people.
Evaluate the potential impact on the well being of children and young people of not forming positive attachments If a child/young person is not able to form positive attachments, this will affect their long term cognitive, social, and emotional skills and receptors. The long term consequences of maternal deprivation might include the following: Delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, Depression, Affectionless. A child/young person will have an inability to show affection or concern for others. They act on impulse with little regard for the consequences of their actions. An example of this would be; showing no guilt for antisocial behaviour.
Explain the role of carers in supporting children and young people to form positive attachments With the children/young people in my care, most of them are unable to form healthy positive relationships due to their past. It will be challenging for the care team to help the children/young people overcome this as they are usually around 15 years of age when they come into our care. We cannot expect miracles, but with persistence and positive attitude, we are able to try and show the children/young people that it is ok to care and show emotion to people you care about. We can support them by giving advice and guidance, and maybe share experiences that we have faced just like them, and show its not all bad and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Outcome 2- Understand how resilience can reduce vulnerability of children and young people to separation and loss
Describe what is meant by the term resilience
Psychological resilience is used to describe the ability of an individual to adapt to challenging situations, periods and transitions and to also be able to cope with the stress and adversity that accompany these. This can be in relation to any area of life that anyone will face in their lifetime. Resilience is considered to be a process under constant development throughout a person’s life as they come into contact with new stressors and challenges and learn new ways of dealing with them positively and in their own way.
Explain how the development of resilience can help children and young people cope with separation and loss The ability to develop and maintain positive relationships is a key indicator of a child having a good level of resilience. If a child/young person has a good level of resilience that means they are more than likely going to have secure and stable relationships with friends, family etc. this would then give them a network of people to console in and lean on when support is needed with a loss in life or separation. Resilience would help them to accept the negative aspects of this event by looking towards the future and how they can make the best of a situation over which they have little or no control.
Explain ways carers can help develop resilience in children and young people Everyone can develop resilience, and we can help the young people/children develop it as well. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned over time. A simple thing such as making a connection with the young people/child is a start by beginning to create a positive relationship through relating and advising them. For the young people/children in care, structure and routine are found to be very important also. Gives the young people/child, stability and they know what to expect from others as well as their selves. Help the child/young person accept that change is part of living. This is something a the child/young person will of gone through several times in their life already by being removed from their family environment, to being placed in different care homes. Relating to this, and sharing experiences that as a care worker we also go through will show them that everyone goes through it and they are not alone. This also relates to keeping things in perspective and maintains a hopeful outlook.
Outcome 4- Be able to develop own practice in supporting positive attachments for children or young people
Describe how a child or young person has been supported by own practice to develop positive attachments One of the young people in my care has a particularly fragile relationship with his mom. As a member of his care team, I always support him to make positive steps towards regaining and rebuilding this relationship as it is his mother. Although this young person is very fond of his mother and she is capable of providing for him, she is not always emotionally there for him, putting a block on the young person being about to talk to their mom about how they are feeling etc. This also means that his mother does not reach out to him emotionally and rarely initiates communication. This results in the young person feeling disregarded and unimportant to her.
Given that I have developed a nice positive relationship with this young person, I feel that they are comfortable enough to talk to me about how he feels about his mom and their relationship. When this happens, I make sure he knows that I care about his feelings and that I am there to support him to make contact with her and to express these feelings to her. Recently, the relationship broke down completely, with his mother stating that she wanted nothing more to do with him. The whole team consoled him about his situation, and makes sure he knows that when he was ready to, we would support him to reach out to her. After a few weeks, the young person decided to reach out so we aided him in this and it resulted in them meeting up for a chat, and they have now slowly progressing to getting a stable positive relationship again.
Evaluate why approaches in supporting positive attachments have been successful or unsuccessful for a child or young person In the above mentioned example, my approach to supporting positive attachments for the young person was successful. Luckily with this young person, he is open enough to talk to his staff members and allows himself to get close to people to get positive relationships whereas a lot of young people are quite closed about the idea. This then makes me discuss about another young person in my care where she is the opposite. She does not like to think that she depends on anyone and is not particularly close to her care staff and decides to keep them at arms length. We’re consistent in her boundaries and rules which she reacts quite well too and she has improved with her care staff from this as she knows what to expect from staff, and enjoys having a routine herself.
Reflect on how own practice can be adapted to support a child or young person in the future Whilst doing this job, I have learnt that any impact I can have in a child/young person’s life is good. Doesn’t matter how small or large it is, if I can demonstrate to them that I am a secure open person that is wanting to help them, and they respond to that well, then that is an aspect of my job I am fulfilling. I treat all young people/children the same when it comes to boundaries and rules, but know dependent of the individuals and their personalities I have to go around it a different way with each of them.