If you find this site useful, please donate to support our work

Get our latest news by email:


Looking for something?


Entries in attachement (1)


Challenging attachment theory dogma

John BowlbyAttachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans developed by John Bowlby after the Second World War.
Its most important tenet is that a child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally.
Attachment theory is sometimes used as a reason for limiting contact with a father after separation, particularly for very young children.
A recent issue of Family Court Review included an article by Michael E.Lamb, criticising this use of attachment theory in court cases in response to an earlier series of articles which represented Bowlby's notion of monotropy as though it was an established and accepted fact and not mentioning Bowlby's own later disavowal of the idea.
Lamb's key points are:
  • Most children in two-parent families form attachments to both of their parents at the same stage in their development.
  • Relationships with both their mother and father profoundly affect children's adjustment, whether or not they live together.
  • Professionals need to be careful when generalizing from research which may have involved families in circumstances quite unlike those experienced by the individuals they are trying to assist.