By John Bowlby
The world-famous psychiatrist and writer of the vintage works Attachment, Separation, and Loss bargains vital guidance for baby rearing in accordance with the the most important function of early intimate relationships.
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Additional resources for A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development
When the family was young, father had been working long hours away from home training for a profession. Mother was always unpredictable. Often she was so distraught by her quarrelling children that she would lock herself in her room for days on end. Several times she had left home, taking the daughters with her but leaving the sons behind. He had been told that he had been an unhappy baby, a poor feeder and sleeper, who had often been left alone to cry for long periods. His crying, it was said, had been just an attempt to gain control of his parents and to be spoilt.
Yet, though faith in the validity of particular data and in particular theories is out of place in a scientist, I do not wish to imply that he is nothing but a sceptic. On the contrary, his whole way of living is founded on faith, faith that in the long run the best route to reliable knowledge is the application of scientific method. I am, of course, aware that there are many psychoanalysts who do not share this faith and who believe that the types of problem with which we deal lie far outside the scope of science.
The findings of the study (see the review by Ainsworth, 1977) show that the way a particular infant of 12 months behaves with and without his mother at home and the way he behaves with and without her in a slightly strange test situation have much in -46common. Drawing on observations of behaviour in both types of situation it is then possible to classify the infants into three main groups, according to two criteria: (a) how much or how little they explore when with mother or without her, and (b) how they treat mother -- when she is present, when she departs, and, especially, when she returns.