Although it is too soon to offer a definitive assessment of Angelas attachment styles, her early childhood experiences plus her current social difficulties suggest Angela will probably exhibit ambivalent or avoidant attachment styles towards others at first. Because she has already exhibited struggles making friends, it is most likely she is exhibiting avoidant attachment. Insecure avoidant types withdraw and are generally reluctant to form close connections or attachments because they have experienced unreliable caregiving patterns. Angela could just as easily be demonstrating some resistant behaviors, if she acts out with anger or aggression. However, her evident lack of problematic behavior suggests that Angela has a strong degree of psychological resilience. This is the ideal stage at which to offer Angela additional supports to improve her self-esteem and increase her ability or willingness to trust others.
Temperament could also be an issue, interacting with Angelas early childhood experiences with unreliable caregivers and instable home environments. Some research suggests, temperament of the child is actually what leads to the different attachment types, (McLeod, 2008, p. 1). Temperament (an element of nature) and caregiver behaviors (nurture) combine to inform Angelas current social-psychological status. In Angelas case, it seems a strong and generally stable temperament is mitigating what could be stress or trauma. The case study contains no specific details that would lead to a constructive or informed assessment of Angelas temperament. However, her successful transition to the new school does indicate that Angela might have an overall positive affect, a good sense of emotional self-regulation, and innate desire to trust (Temperament and Personality, n.d.). Giving Angela the responsibility of being peer counselor may tremendously help to increase her self-esteem and self-worth. It is strongly recommended that Angela continue to participate fully in similar programs in which she is in an increasing position of leadership and able to empower others.
Her mother seems willing to help Angela, which will help both of them. Three steps that Angela and her mother can take together would include incorporating activities that involve discipline and the cultivation of specific skills. The arts, music, or athletics programs might be helpful. Another step the two could take could be to schedule in regular recreational activities that may involve exercise to promote optimal physical and psychological health. Finally, becoming involved in the community through volunteer work might also help Angela to develop self-esteem and pro-social behavioral traits. Angelas innate sense of curiosity and creativity can be nurtured through conscientious application of effort and engagement in activities she enjoys.
As Angela transitions from childhood into early adolescence, her attitudes towards self and others will be changing. Peer relations are complex during middle childhood, what Hardrup (n.d.) describes as a matrix of contexts and components, (p. 1). Angela herself has not yet experienced bullying but as a witness to it, she is in a unique and powerful position of helping her peers. Kohlbergs theory of moral development suggests that Angela has completely shifted from a self-interested orientation that prevails in early childhood towards a more conventional stage at which she recognizes the value of social norms in promoting harmony. If Angela is working with young children, she would need to recognize that their moral reasoning will be different from her own. Whereas Angela is working from a position of bullying is wrong, then she might need to shift to a perspective that offered rewards for appropriate anti-bullying behaviors. Understanding that all bystanders play a role in reducing bullying, Angela will be able to encourage personal responsibility among her peers.
Hardrup, W.H. (n.d.). The peer context in middle childhood. Development During Middle Childhood. Retrieved online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216783/
McLeod, S. (2008). Mary Ainsworth. Simply Psychology. Retrieved online: https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html
Temperament and Personality, (n.d.). Retrieved online: http://psych.colorado.edu/~colunga/P4684/temperament.pdf
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