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There are numerous theories t explaining human behavior. Theses theories attempts to explain changes in human behavior because of certain conditions or situations. Many studies have paid a lot of attention on child development, but there is an increasing interest in the old people, while other age groups have been given little attention (Papalia et al., 2007, p.2).
A psycho analyst by the name John Bowlby believed that an individual’s mental health and behavioral characteristics were as a result of his/her early childhood. Bowlby’s evolutionary attachment theory posits that when a child is born his/her brain is already pre-programmed to form attachment with other people, since this will help them to survive (Bowlby, 1980, p.2).
However, Lev Vygotsky believed that children’s behaviors are influenced by their socio-cultural environment (Santrock, 2008, p.15). This paper identifies behaviors in each cast study and explains them with each development theory.
Bowlby’s theory of attachment
Bowlby’s theory of attachment was influenced generally by ethological theory, particularly by Lorenz’s research of imprinting. Lorenz showed that attachment was a matter of survival using young ducklings. Bowlby’s opinion was that attachment behaviors are natural and its failure was triggered by any conditions that tend to create disconnection for instance insecurity, fear and separation.
Bowlby also claimed that fear of strangers correspond to a significant survival means which is intrinsic. Children are born with certain behavioral characteristics which help them to ensure that they are always close to their mothers, for instance crying, crawling, and smiling among others (Bowlby, 1980, p.2).
Basically, Bowlby believed that attachment was a very important survival feature which results in a close bond between a child and one attachment figure; failure to initiate this close bond will only lead to severe consequences probably psychopathic behavior. He also asserted that a child will always behave in a manner that educes contact or proximity to the attachment figure mostly their mother.
Bowlby believed that mothers had great impact on children’s understanding of emotion while fathers impacts on their children understanding of social skills (Bowlby, 1980, p.3).
Angela was deprived of one of the attachment figures after his father left their mother. Bowlby had an opinion that fathers impacted significantly on children’s social skills and this can be one of the reasons why Angela got pregnant while still at school. Angela’s child exhibited those weird behaviors because she lacked that motherly attachment.
Angela was a frustrated mother and they are high chance that she was never connected to her child. In the case of Alex, his parents divorce affected him a lot. Being separated from his mother made the situation worse for Alex; it seems he was so much connected/ attached to his mother. Alex’s separation from his mother resulted into a psychological distress (Bowlby, 1980, p.2; Santrock, 2008, p.15).
Vygotsky’s socio-cultural cognitive theory
Lev Vygotsky’s was a major contributor in the cognitive theories of development. Cognitive theories of development presented a constructive view of development, focusing particularly on a person’s conscious thinking. They emphasized on a person’s active construction of understanding. Vygotsky’s contribution was on the socio-cultural cognitive theory.
This theory focused on the role of language and social relations on a child’s development (Papalia et al., 2007, p.3-4). Therefore, according to Vygotsky children behaviors are greatly influenced by their surrounding. He believed that language was a very significant tool for children especially in planning activities and solving problems (Papalia et al., 2007, p.3-4).
Vygotsky also claimed that cognitive skills acquisition was inseparable from socio-cultural set up (Santrock, 2008, p.15). Alex and Angela’s behaviors were greatly influenced by their family background. Bowlby predicted that children’s emotional and social behaviors are influenced greatly by their two parents. Angela irresponsible was highly influenced by his father; same with Alex’s act of aggressiveness.
From the study it is apparent that children’s behaviors are greatly influenced by attachment to one figure and their socio-cultural environment. Bowlby’s opinion was that attachment behaviors are natural and its failure was triggered by any conditions that tend to create disconnection for instance insecurity, fear and separation Attachment is a matter of life and death.
Children who are deprived of attachment eventually develop psychopathic behaviors in the long run. Language and social environment also plays a major role in nurturing children’s behavior.
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Bowlby, J. (1980). Loss: Sadness & Depression. Attachment and Loss (vol. 3); (International psycho-analytical library no.109). London: Hogarth Press.
Papalia, D. E., Olds, S. W., & Feldma R. D. (2007). Human development. 10th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Santrock, J. W. (2008). Educational psychology. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.