Attachment Theory Reaction : LUSENET : M.Ed. Cohort II : One Thread

My ears perked up when I heard Dr. Calrson use the words "resilience" and "protective factors." I've written/typed those terms many, many time in my thesis so far so it was exciting to hear a speaker use them. I found the presentation this evening very fascinating. There was so much information that can help us as teachers figure out the behavior of some students. I had told my Child Care class that I was going to this session and that I would relay to them what I learned - and I learned a lot. Those vitally important first years of life were again emphasized with the Attachment Theory. What was surprising was that what ever attachment is formed, it is carried on in other environments and into adulthood. The Minnesota Longitudinal Study the speaker referred to clearly illustrates this. The issue of whether or not a mother can tolerate her child's distress, can set in motion future behaviors of her child. I kept thinking back during the presentation to my own children and wondering about their degree of attachment. I was also trying to think back, even though it was moch longer ago, to my own attachment. But if history repeats itself, my children should have securely attached children of their own. Dana

-- Anonymous, February 25, 1999


This topic of attachment theory and this speaker Dr.Elizabeth Carlson is probably the topic that has been of the most interest to me. The Duluth ECFE program received a rather large grant last year to deal exactly with this issue of attachment. As a matter of fact one of our own, Gloria, is working in that program. As I listened so much of what she was saying seemed so obvious. Those years from birth to eight are so much more critical than so many people realize. I have often heard people comment that infants and toddlers are too young to remember. Implying that what happens in those years is not all that important. Listening to Dr. Carlson's lecture made me realize once again that those years and those experiences are so very crucial. I really could relate to what she was saying about how the same problems that occur in preschool settings continue to be present in middle and high school. I did find hope however, in her comment that if these kids can find one caring person to be present in their lives it can make all the difference. Once again I realized what an awesome responsibility teachers carry.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 1999

Dana, I immediately thought about you and your reactions to the speaker's information about resiliency! I hoped you got supportive facts for your paper from her.

The Attachment Theory was interesting. I didn't realize that attachment was something that had been studied. I was very fortunate to have been raised in a supportive, loving home so the information from the speaker seemed rather obvious to me. It made sense that the person who has built up a relationship with a child over a period of time would be attached to that child and the child to that person. Researchers, of course, try to find the reasons why and how things are as they are. I chuckled at my thoughts about the people who go into the jungle to study apes! I guess they also study relationships!

Barb, when you said, "Those vitally important first years of life were again emphasized with the Attachment Theory," I thought about my knowledge as a young mother. I don't remember that I was shown how important those years are. Sure, the general literature I got from my doctor gave some basic information, but it certainly didn't stress how much the impact of early experiences plays upon a child. By chance and some information, I believe I did "right" by my kids. Now I need to see if I'm doing "right" by my students.

-- Anonymous, February 27, 1999

I learned about Attachment Theory from a professor that had gone through the program at the "U" in Mpls and was familiar with the research. However that was in the 1980's. How wonderful it was to know that the research is still going on and that the information presented supported and expanded what I learned previously. And I see I was not the only "mom" who wondered about the attachment process with her children. If and when I have grandchildren, I will be looking at the relationship with new eyes.

The predictability factors longitudinally were impressive and also disconcerting. I am even more convinced our educational dollars need to focus on Early Childhood and Parent Education. I have been so impressed with our own cohort members and their committment to this part of the educational process.

I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Carlson afterwards. What a gracious woman! My question was how the young males in the study reacted and how they were measured. My sense was the young females were more apt to speak in terms of feelings and relationships than the young males. As it turns out there was difference enough to necessitate changes in questions and interpretations of answers. She also told me where their building was located on campus so I might visit when I was down there seeing my own children. The program has a daycare located at the site which I presume helps with research. It would be fun to see how it was set up. Does UMD have a similar situation?

That's all folks!

-- Anonymous, February 27, 1999

It was an eye opener to hear that aggression in preschool is a good indicator of that behavior later on and that high self-esteem in preschool indicates strong attachment as an infant and will also hold up later on. The preschool years are very critical in a child's development. There certainly needs to be more done to make those controlling funding more aware of the needs of families and preschool education. If the statistics are correct and 40% of children are inadequately attached, what do teachers do at primary, middle and seocndary levels to work with these students. I have been concerned about students reactions to distress in my second grade classroom. The attachment theory explains why , but now I would like to know more specifics on how to help those children who tend to isolate and withdraw when in distress. It is so easy to allow them to do so with 23 other students in the class to deal with at the same time. I will be trying harder to draw them into relationships and to come to me when in distress and deal with their feelings openly. By second grade they seem to have one way of responding so ingrained it takes a tremendous effort to reverse it. It was good to hear the presentation. I learned much from it.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 1999

I had attended a session with Dr. Carlson last year, so much of the material was a repeat for me. I agree with the importance of the early years and early relationships. We need the information from the longitudinal study to be shared. I had hoped to learn more about what can be done at the elementary and secondary levels to help these children who did not have secure attachments un the early years. I also wondered more about the impact of day care. Dr. Carlson stated that the amount and quality of daycare has an impact, but there are many factors involved in the day care situation. With the pressure of our society to return to work after 6 weeks, it would seem to possibly impact levels of attachment. In day care centers, often, when infants graduate to toddlers, they are moved to different locations in the center, and away from their familiar infant care provider to a new toddler care provider. If a child is securely attached to their day care provider, it seems that to change it at this point would be detrimental. We do this at to another degree with changing teachers each year at the primary level. There are several schools that have implemented looping to avoid this, and results seem positive from the informal discussions I have been part of. Perhaps looping in day care settings has merit as well.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 1999

I work with high school students and have not heard a lot about attachment theory. I have always felt that children who are brought up in a loving and nurturing home will not have some of the problems other children will. My students and I were discussing an article in the newspaper about working moms and their children. It said that children of working moms are not harmed developmentally. If a child can get into a good daycare system and also receive the necessary attention at home, they should be fine. My students said they know and have mothers who stay home all day with their kids but are not good mothers. They let the kids run around and do whatever they want. It isn't always how much time is spent with the children, but the quality of the time spent with them. This came from a freshman mother to be who was told by a teacher that moms should stay home and be with their babies. This student wants to be with ber baby, but she also wants to finish school.

Sometimes I feel helpless when I deal with these kids with problems related to early childhood attachment. I best thing I learned was that it is never too late for these kids to get help.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

I found the stuff Dr. Carlson did to be really interesting because I never was exposed to the attachment theory in St. Cloud. To be able to look at these things as predictors of what these kids may turn out like as adults is mind boggleing! I looked back on what transpired with my own kids when they were so small and things just sort of lit up all over the place! I saw some of the same things she was talking about and then applied then to the kids as they are now. Boy was I surprized, but then I have always said they turned out ok in spite of everything that I did to them. It brings a new perspective to what we see with the students that enroll in our college programs and the success and troubles that they have, too. Those exploratory and coping skills are evident even at this level. Anybody see the article in Mondays fishwrapper (news-tribune. Sorry Georgia, but in my opinion it went down hill after you left ;))about the study done on kids in day care? I had wondered about that during the presentation. Basically says with good, caring day care they do ok too. I would be happy to give any of you who might be interested the benefit of my much earlier training as an "av guy". After getting zinged about being asleep I think someone else should be ready to jump into the breach should it be necessary, after all we are in this together! :-)

-- Anonymous, March 04, 1999

I reacted to Elizabeth Carlson's information similarly to Ed -- Attachment Theory is pretty foreign to high school teachers, and I never would have imagined that it was even relevant. But as Dr. Carlson described long-term characteristics of people who never formed a primary attachment, I started picturing specific students in my classroom. One thing I'd like to add to the discussion is that sometimes the failure to form a "normal" attachment is due to a condition within the child. My older son has Tourette Syndrome, and I recognized some of the behaviors Dr. Carlson described in him at a very early age, which are classic Tourette symptoms. For example, not reacting when a parent leaves or comes back. My son used to do that, and it would break my heart. My second son is completely different.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 1999

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