The social and emotional development of children is said to start when the child is born and how the child develops these social, emotional skills is assumed to affect their adult life. There are several theories on how children develop socially and emotionally, theories on the different ways an adult can be affected by the social and emotional events during their early years.
Prior to the development of Bowlby’s theory of attachment he proposed a version called the maternal deprivation hypothesis which focused more on the effects of deprivation rather than the benefits of attachment. The hypothesis states that children have an innate need for warm, continuous relationship. If the main attachment bond is broken in the early years then it will have an adverse effect on the child’s emotional, social, and cognitive development. If many separations are experienced, behaviour patterns such as detachment or despair may persist into future life and develop into psychopathy or depression. Other effects include: emotionally disturbed behaviour such as bed wetting, depression, intellectual retardation and inability to make relationships. (Brody & Dwyer, 2002)
The term maternal deprivation was used to imply the impact of this attachment failing to occur or the sudden loss or separation of the primary care giver. Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis suggests the inability to create or continue this attachment, can result in long-term difficulties within the child’s emotional, social and cognitive development. The type of long term problems that the child could face in adulthood include: depression, decreased level of intellect, delinquency, more prone to aggressive outbursts and affectionless psychopathy i.e. a person who is unable to show affection for others or simply has no regard for the consequences of their actions.
An adult inability to interact with others is based on the behavioural boundaries given by the parent during their childhood and memories of how their parents interacted with others. This means that the primary care giver is also the primary role model and acts as an example for the child’s future relationships through the internal working model. The internal working model is based on the primary role model showing the child how to be trustworthy, how to see oneself as a valuable member of society and how to effectively interact with others. A child who