ULV women address relationships

Posted March 30, 2007
Lauren Pollard
As part of the “Engendering Diversity and Community” conference at the University of La Verne, women discussed the attachment theory at a roundtable discussion March 23. Maureen Goff, one of the five panelists, shared the impact early relationships can have on current relationships. Other panelists discussed the theory, its relationships to gender, and cultural differences.

There are certain types of attachments in relationships, some of which many people are not familiar.

A small group of women consisting of faculty, students, and graduate students from the University of La Verne gathered March 23 for a discussion about attachment relationships in culture and gender.

“Attachment theory is a theory about intimate relationships,” said Jackie Adamson, assistant professor of education.

Adamson is also the chair of an off campus child development program.

“It sets the foundation of the quality of all relationships,” Adamson said.

Adamson described certain types of attachments: secure and insecure.

There are three types describing insecure attachment: insecure avoidant, insecure resistant and insecure disorganized/disoriented.

She continued to explain how attachment influences develop and how it is different in family and culture.

It was explained how the human need is to be close and have a relationship with someone such as mother and child.

“Generally in most cultures, about 65 percent of children have secure attachments,” said Barbara Nicoll, professor and director of graduate child development.

The roundtable discussion first spoke about attachment in infancy.

They described how caregivers need to be sensitive to the infant’s needs.

The infant is likely to stay close to its caregiver because if they stay close, they know someone will be there for them.

Secure attachment tends to be well for children.

“Children are driven to be secure,” Nicoll said.

The topic of divorce was also brought up at the roundtable discussion.

It was discussed how children need to be reassured that the divorce is not their fault. Children are experiencing many emotions during this time.

“If something very difficult happens like this, a child who is secure can become insecure,” Nicoll said.

“The issue is what are the child’s needs and how can we provide it,” Nicoll said.

The discussion then went into how most research in attachment has been between the mother and child and less with father and child.

As the mother takes on the “care-giving” role in the family, the father takes on the “playful role.”

“Strong marriages tend to lead to strong paternal attachment,” said Susy Noelck, a graduate student of child development.

“Playful relationships are more accurately measured between a child and a father,” Noelck said.

As a child grows, their need for care giving diminishes and the need for play increases.

However, it was also discussed that there is not a difference between same gender parents and typical parents in the way children develop.

A question was asked about the research regarding the attachment between siblings.

Some have seen differences and similarities among siblings concerning attachment.

“There is a higher percent of infants who change from secure to insecure with the coming of a new sibling,” Adamson said.

Other graduate students brought up discussions about research studies and attachment in different cultures and in maternal sensitivity.

Some members also shared their personal experiences about attachment and how they dealt with it in their individual lives.

This discussion on attachment was part of the “Engendering Diversity and Community” conference held March 21 to 23.

Vanessa Avilez can be reached at vavilez@ulv.edu.

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