Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love / Edition 1

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The struggle to understand the infant-parent bond ranks as one of the great quests of modern psychology, one that touches us deeply because it holds so many clues to how we become who we are. How are our personalities formed? How do our early struggles with our parents reappear in the way we relate to others as adults? Why do we repeat with our own children—seemingly against our will—the very behaviors we most disliked about our parents? In Becoming Attached, psychologist and noted journalist Robert Karen offers fresh insight into some of the most fundamental and fascinating questions of emotional life.
Karen begins by tracing the history of attachment theory through the controversial work of John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, and Mary Ainsworth, an American developmental psychologist, who together launched a revolution in child psychology. Karen tells about their personal and professional struggles, their groundbreaking discoveries, and the recent flowering of attachment theory research in universities all over the world, making it one of the century's most enduring ideas in developmental psychology.
In a world of working parents and makeshift day care, the need to assess the impact of parenting styles and the bond between child and caregiver is more urgent than ever. Karen addresses such issues as: What do children need to feel that the world is a positive place and that they have value? Is day care harmful for children under one year? What experiences in infancy will enable a person to develop healthy relationships as an adult?, and he demonstrates how different approaches to mothering are associated with specific infant behaviors, such as clinginess, avoidance, or secure exploration. He shows how these patterns become ingrained and how they reveal themselves at age two, in the preschool years, in middle childhood, and in adulthood. And, with thought-provoking insights, he gives us a new understanding of how negative patterns and insecure attachment can be changed and resolved throughout a person's life.
The infant is in many ways a great mystery to us. Every one of us has been one; many of us have lived with or raised them. Becoming Attached is not just a voyage of discovery in child emotional development and its pertinence to adult life but a voyage of personal discovery as well, for it is impossible to read this book without reflecting on one's own life as a child, a parent, and an intimate partner in love or marriage.

Different parenting styles, personality dvpt, tantrums; legacy of attachments in adult life; security etc.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robert Karen has a rare capacity for presenting complex psychological ideas in language that is accessible to nonspecialists....Karen's book makes fascinating reading and constitutes a considerable achievement."—Contemporary Psychology

"Robert one of our smartest and most accessible guides to the arcane world of psychoanalytic theory and research."—Elle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195115017
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/23/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 206,491
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Karen is a clinical psychologist in private practice and an award-winning author. In addition to two previous books, he has written articles for The Atlantic, New York magazine, Mirabella, The Nation, and The Yale Review. He is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Derner Institute of Advance Psychological Studies, Adelphi University.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    Becoming Attached: Reviewed By Karen Jean Matsko Hood, M.A.

    Book Review Book Reviewer: Karen Jean Matsko Hood Doctoral Student in the Leadership Studies Program at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington; working to complete her Ph.D. degree in Leadership Studies. Title of Book Reviewed: Becoming Attached: First Relationship and How they Shape Our Children Subtitle of Book Reviewed: N/A Author of Book: Robert Karen, Ph.D. Publisher of Book Reviewed: Oxford Universities Press, New York and Oxford Year of Book Copyright: 1998 Book Review: This four hundred and ninety page psychology book is a useful collection of information regarding the process of attachment. Attachment is regarded as an essential process for children to connect to their primary caregiver so they can become part of a family unit and learn to trust. Attachment is regarded as a very important process of bonding. Successful bonding is necessary for children to develop healthy, loving relationships with their primary caregivers. If attachment bonding does not occur or if it is disrupted this causes damage to development of future relationships as they become adults. Dr. Karen¿s book provides practical information based on theory¿s and research studies. The author based the premise of her book on the research work of John Bowlby the founder of attachment theory. John Bowlby wrote ¿When a baby is born he cannot tell one person from another and indeed can hardly tell person from thing. Yet, by his first birthday he is likely to have become a connoisseur of people. Not only does he come quickly to distinguish familiars from strangers but amongst his familiars he chooses one or more favorites. They are greeted with delight; they are followed when they depart; and they are sought when absent. Their loss causes anxiety and distress; their recovery, relief and a sense of security. On this foundation, it seems, the rest of his emotional life is built ¿ without this foundation there is risk for is future happiness and health.¿ Note that new studies have shown that the infant, even the neonate, odes have the capacity to distinguish the smell of his mother and to recognize her voice. Dr. Karen goes on to support Dr. Bowlby¿s theory in each chapter that is packed with supporting research information. In Chapter One he cites scenarios of the tremendous impact of the primary care-giver that is usually the mother. It is not enough to love the child. Bowlby, 1967. Some points of interest in this book includes the scare (and supporting facts) that problems in early attachment lead to future psychopaths. An unattached child is more likely to grow up to become a detached adult. Any crime can become possible when they are detached and do not have a conscious. Researchers Bowlby and Klein continue to be cited throughout Chapter Four to support this theory. Chapters Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, and Twenty-Three deal with the nature versus nurture debate. Chapters Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, and Twenty-Six deal with the problem of passing on the same insecurities to our children that we have encountered. Chapter Twenty-Six presents practical advice for working through insecure attachment and the problems that go with this insecure attachment. In summary, I have found this book to be written in a logical fashion that is easy for neophytes as well as experienced professionals to read. It is presented in an interesting fashion with plenty of quotes and citation and bibliographic notation for further research on this fascinating topic. I recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the process of becoming attached as a child.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Best way to buy books

    This is the second time I bought books this way and both times I am very pleased.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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