Sunday, May 30, 2010

Attachment Theory

To better understand where child protection comes from regarding attachment theory I have undertaken the daunting task of reading what I could find on Attachment Theory. I have discovered that it is difficult critiquing something of which you may not have all that much understanding and which also makes some sense. I have often wondered about the application of the theory and whether it was in keeping with Social Work theory.

I become concerned where I witness any theory being used as a means of controlling individuals or a group of individuals. There are occasions when I see Social Workers doing this and to my horror I find myself confronting them and making myself seem like something I don't want to be, namely their enemy. What I see around attachment theory is this theory being used as a means of controlling women who are struggling with parenting. What I often see is young women, who have never had children and profess to be social workers, controlling the lives of the most dis-empowered group in our society - young women who are mothers.

Their seems to be an erroneous belief that because a child reaches a certain age they are then damaged for life and will then struggle to have meaningful relationships so somehow these young social workers role is to save these children from this experience. The truth is that we build attachment based on our experiences of the time. For a child to continue to have carers who provide appropriate attachment will provide a positive experience for the child. The onus is therefore on the child protection agency to ensure that the biological parents and any other carers are providing the appropriate attachment and when biological parents are able to be consistent regarding their attachment then it is reasonable to give the child back them. The notion that attachment is about carers behaviour and that the attachment is to the way a child is treated and this could be by a number of carers providing it is consistent rather than by the one carer. Most people in Child Protection would disagree with this notion. If they agree they would have to re think the way they work.

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