Parental Responsiveness

Parental Responsiveness Parental responsiveness Parent responsiveness is the reaction of a parent towardsa child’s cues. Early communications between the parent and the child are essential in promoting language development and emotional regulation in infants. The response to the child’s cues, olfactory, tactile or emotional, is important in the relationship between the parent and child. A parent’s mental representation of attachment defines her responsiveness to the child’s attachment signals. The quality and nature of the parent-infant attachment relationship is critical in a child’s lifespan development (Barbara, 2011).
Behaviorism is a philosophy of psychology based on the assumption that living things are essentially passive, responding to stimuli. The basis of this theory is that behaviors are acquired through conditioning, which occurs through interaction with the environment. The crying of the child in this case could be in response to an environmental stimuli and the parent can altering her behavior or modifying the environment. The parent can identify and withhold the stimulus that causes the child to cry or apply a stimulus that the child is comfortable with. The parent can change the she way reacts to the child’s cues to improve her relationship with the child. If this is done there will the child will be comfortable and parent-child relationship will improve (Lytton, 1980).
Psychoanalytic Theory
In this theory it is believed that behavior is influenced by childhood experiences and unconscious desires. It states that a series of psychosexual stages determine development. Lifelong influence on personality and behavior can be determined by social interaction and conflicts that occur in these stages. The child might be crying because of unresolved feelings, which may be unconscious, or misgivings at that particular time. This calls for closer association between the parent and the child so that she can understand the needs of the child. This could do little to help because it entails understanding the unconscious mind of the child which is hard (Barbara, 2011).
Attachment theory
The bond that develops between the child and a primary caretaker describes this theory. It stresses the importance of long-term relationship between parents and their children. A parent who is sensitive and responsive in social interaction with her child will be more attached to the child. A crawling child will use familiar figures as a secure base to explore and return to. The loss of an attachment figure will always be followed by separation grief which is considered as a normal and adaptive response for the infant. This parent should dedicate more time to her child so that a great bond is developed. If this happens the child will feel safe being around her hence crying less. This approach is likely to work as once the child feels safe being with her the less she or he cries (Pauline, 2008).
Parents Reaction to the Cries of a Child
Children cry to communicate that something is wrong or are in need of something. If ignored the child feels helpless and angry, this could damage the existing relationship. Research has it that the more quickly and compassionately a child’s cry is answered the shorter he/she cries. A child’s maturity is enhanced by compassionately responding to the child’s important need at the right time. By comforting a child whenever she/he cries a parent trains her/him. When we show compassion for the suffering we are training the child by example. When a child cries it should not be assumed that he/she is trying to manipulate the parent but he needs comfort. Some of the greatest requirements for growth are a parent’s love, support, and reassurance when a child cries. If this is not provided a child may develop a sense of isolation and distrust ending up stressed (Pauline, 2008).
Mother’s Behavior and Child’s Characteristics
The sensitivity of infants to the timing of maternal expressions is high. A child to a mother who keeps her face still and ignores the child’s emotional cues tend to become confused and distressed. Post natal depression may cause a mother to show intrusive or withdrawn behavior to her child. A child’s socio-emotional and cognitive development can be adversely affected by such impaired interactions. Depressed mothers have infants who often show asymmetries in frontal activation leading to impaired social and emotional regulation development. A child who cries to manipulate the parent can detach himself from his caretaker or parent (Lytton, 1980).
A mother should never give up in reading the cues of her child because they are vital in building of mother-child relationship. The mother should try as much as possible to learn the cues until the child is able to talk and express his/her feelings.
The mother of the child should become more attached to her child by trying to read the child’s emotional, facial and tactile cues. This bonding will help the child be conscious of his feelings and calm himself. The attachment theory is the most appropriate solution because attachment is two-way as the caretaker is affected by the infant and vice versa.
Barbara Newman, P. N. (2011). Development Through Life: A Psychosocial Approach.
Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Lytton, H. (1980). Parent-child interaction: the socialization process observed in twin and
singleton families. Berlin: Springer.
Pauline Boss, W. D. (2008). Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods: A Contextual
Approach. Berlin: Springer.