An attachment perspective on incarcerated parents and their children
Cassidy, J., Poehlmann, J., & Shaver, P. (2010). An attachment perspective on incarcerated parents and their children. Attachment & Human Development, 12(4), 285-288.
Children of incarcerated parents are considered an at-risk population. It is recorded that more than 3 million children are critically affected by having a parent who is incarcerated. The article finds that children are damaged by the interruption this incarceration plays in attachment relationships between the parent and child. The loss the child faces once a parent becomes incarcerated affects the security of the parent-child attachment therefore ...view middle of the document...
I can see where the poverty, exposure and more instability would begin. It most likely was that this child has been exposed to the risks for a very long time and would soon be “falling through the cracks” as this research is suggesting.
I feel that the impact of parental incarceration on children may depend on the situation. It stands to reason that if a child forges a bond with another caregiver early on, it could shape his future situation. The variables might include whether or not the parent lived with them prior to incarceration. It’s also quite possible that the child has already been subjected to damage BEFORE the arrest and incarceration for various reasons. Events leading up to the arrest could also have an impact on the future of this child. Most likely, there has been an unstable environment for some time which has lead up to the arrest.
The article studies an Intervention program with non- violent incarcerated women and their newborns. This program is meant to improve the parent’s caregiving and raise a secure infant-parent attachment. The intervention includes newborns actually being housed with the mothers in a prison nursery while trying for forge a bond and attachment. The report studied associations between mother’s attachments and a number of maternal psychosocial functioning.
While I feel that this program would certainly forge a relationship between mother and newborn baby, forming this attachment, it could also cause distress if the mother has not followed through with the decision to stay free from the prison/jail system and she was incarcerated once again. The text in our book tells us that it is good for an infant to be securely attached to his or her caregiver even to the point that it seems manipulative. The book asks what is wrong with ‘manipulating’ a loved one to end distress. I feel that if the children of these incarcerated women are once again put into this situation, that they will indeed be affected once again. From that point on, trust will be an issue.
I chose this subject because my granddaughter’s mother (Alicia) is presently incarcerated. My granddaughter (Ava) is 7 years old, but she is not new to this situation. Her mother has been arrested many times for offenses that include drug possession, burglary and theft. This behavior started when my granddaughter was about 2 ½ years old.
Ava had a strong bond and attachment to both of her parents and during the first two years of her life her mother was an excellent mother, caregiver and provider. She was the perfect mom, however, a back injury led to an eventual drug habit and the legal problems began.
I believe that in the situation of my granddaughter’s mother, this research was proved correct as there were some issues early on in Alicia’s life with her parents and abandonment. Although Alicia’s parents were not incarcerated, she has become what I call a ‘carrier’ of the effect of loss attachment.
I do not feel that any visits to the facility by...