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The topic on infancy has been written and discussed boldly specially regarding the development stages of the Infants. The infancy bonding in many researches that have successfully been concluded indicate that an Infant bonds more with the mother. This is because the infant spend most of its infancy period in the nursing care of its mother. The mother gets to be the first to hold the new-born upon its birth and breastfed him/her. According to Bremner (1994), an infant’s first word refers to the mother, and that has been the case in a long time.
Over the recent years, it has been witnessed in several family scenarios that infants are bonding more with father as compared to the mother creating an early infant-father relationship. Very few articles have been written regarding this issue and researchers are still trying to find an answer for this changing trend.
In this modern era, a huge percentage of men accompany their wives in the delivery room and emotionally share in their pain to bring forth an adorable creature. They further try to create a bond with the child at that early stage, an act that comes naturally to the mother.
Objective Of The Research
At what stage does infant-father relationship develop? The purpose of this study is to establish the development of the relationship between an infant and its biological father. The study aims at establishing how a connection is created between the two individuals and the role that the father plays to achieve the connection at that early stage. In addition, the research will aim at answering the following questions:
- What is the importance of bonding between the father and the infant?
- How do the fathers achieve the connection achievement and at what stage?
- What are the characteristics of infants who bonded with both parents in future compared to those who only bonded with their mothers?
- What factors affect the infant-father bonding?
Rholes and Simpson (1998) attempts to explain this relationship but do not clearly define how the relationship develops. This research will go to this depth that has been left out by many and by the end of the paper; the reader will be able to understand why most infants get attached to their mothers and not their fathers.
Another goal set to be accomplished by this research is to refine the current understanding of the infancy attachment during development. A father’s role in infancy attachment goes unmentioned in most instances and if mentioned, he acts as an assistant to the mother but not to the child.
The research will therefore give a new interpretation of father-infant relationship, a factor that has been ignored by many in the society. It will further aim at overcoming the difficulties encountered by fathers in their bid to create the bond with the infant. To achieve this, the research will clearly define all the stages of development in an infant from its conception. It will therefore help readers establish the reasons why men fail to create that attachment and why the attachment comes naturally to the mother.
Background Of The Research
Years ago, a new born baby was viewed to belong to the mother and the father played little or no part at all in the baby’s upbringing. This made the baby to be more attached to the mother and had no intimate relations with the father whatsoever. It is not till recently that fathers are learning the art of getting close to their new born children hence creating a relationship at an early age.
Most men however are still keeping their distance due to various circumstances. Some of these circumstances include the traditional beliefs that still imply that women should take care of new borns and the fact that the role being played by the father is has been ignored and the credit for upbringing given to the mother alone (McCormick & Pressley, 2007).
Many researchers attempt to analyze the impact of the quality of the relationship between the child and the father. While the quality with the mother comes naturally and is said to matter a lot, researchers are still working to find out if the same applies to the father-infant relationship.
A study conducted in Germany showed that the quality of the father-infant relationship grows root when the infant is between twelve to eighteen months. The study further showed that these children when they grew up became more dependent on themselves, engaging in least conflicts with their fellow children as compared to those of mother-infant relationship at the same age. They also tend to solve complex matters themselves without involving their teachers (Parke 1996).
In the father-infant relationship, the father is the one who has to earn the trust of the child by creating a bond with him at an early stage. This has been argued to be a difficult task but can be achieved if given a considerable attempt. It is however a slow process but should be encouraged to do so. Research has shown that infants who have bonded with both parents at an early growth, especially with the father exhibit a healthy growth and are more open to life than their counterparts who only experience their mother’s bond (Marie, 2006).
Children who lack the father-infant relationship have been known to be violent in their later years. This is because if an infant grows with this kind of relationship, he develops an inner peace that is translated to be security. The child who lacks this security feels the need to fight back to prove a point (Hewlett 1993).
The father needs to familiarize himself with every stage of the infant’s life to be able to develop an attachment with the child. The infant, in the first month familiarizes himself with the new surrounding and tries to achieve a balanced physiology. This is part of the process that prepares the infant for bonding and attachment.
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The father should be aware of this stage and spend a lot of time with the infant. Touching and holding the infant at this stage plays a big role. The period between two to six months is the most vital stage between the infant and the father. It is actually at this stage that the infant creates a strong with the mother as the infant becomes aware of the surrounding and more specially the caretaker.
The child can make eye contact, study the caretaker’s face and make funny noises at the caretaker. The child at this stage can make happy noises and mothers naturally attach to the infants at this stage when breastfeeding.
The father should therefore learn to get that attachment by holding the infant from time to time and learning to communicate with him. Eye contact should be maintained most of the time to create that bond. The father should have a role to play during the sixth to the eighth month of the infants when he starts getting apprehensive in the presence of strangers.
This research will go beyond the assumption that men are not capable of creating a bond with their new born babies. It will give new directions on how the bond can be developed even while the infant is still in the womb.
The study is aimed at determining at what stage of the infancy do the father starts to get an attachment with the infant. Therefore, the population of this study is actually defined as all fathers who are expecting a new born or the new born is in early stages of development. It will also aim at mothers of the infant to some extent.
The first part of the study will be conducted by collecting secondary materials for reference. This will be done through visiting websites related to the topic at hand and book analysis. This method of data collection will be important in this research to get a picture of what the other writers base their arguments on. It will create a chance for critic by analyzing the works that will aid the research to develop a valid and strong argument (Kumar, 2005).
The second part of the study will rely on secondary data. In this section, data will be collected through interviews, questionnaires and charts. Fathers will be interviewed on their relationships with their children. The interviews will include important questions such as at what point does the father begin to feel the attachment with the child and how important is it to him. In addition to the interviews, the both parents will fill a questionnaire on the same issue.
The questionnaire will mostly aim at the mother’s view on her husband getting close to the child and more so, at what stage does he start to show interest. The results of both the interviews and questionnaires will be presented in a form of a simple chart with both answers being compared. The other data collection to be used will be observation. The observation will be carried out in the maternity wards and will mainly focus on the participation of fathers during the whole process.
These methods of data collection to be used give almost accurate results and mostly preferred when conducting a psychology research.
At the end of the research paper, the reader will be able to find out that many fathers are capable of establishing an attachment with the infant as opposed to popular beliefs. The research will also help to give the reader tips on how to create the father-infant relationship and will also highlight the importance of doing so. The research will be a break through to father’s relationship with their babies.
Bremner, G (1994). Infancy (2nd ed). NY: Blackwell Publishers.
Hewlett, B (1993). Intimate Fathers: The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paternal Infant Care. Michigan: University of Michigan Press
Kumar, R (2005). Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step guide for beginners. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Marie, G (2006). Research Methods in Psychology. London: Sage Publications.
McCormick, C and Pressly, M (2007). Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York: The Guilford Press.
Parke, R (1996). Fatherhood; Developing Child. New York: Harvard University Press
Rholes, S and Simpson, J (1998). Attachment Theory and Close Relationships. New York: The Guilford Press.