Dr. Anna Machin on Parent-Child Attachment.

The National Parents Organization is hugely pleased and privileged to feature a blog by Oxford Behavioral Anthropologist, Dr. Anna Machin.  She’s recently published a book entitled “The Life of Dad.”  I’ll be reviewing it soon encourage and strongly encourage readers to buy it and read it.  Put simply, it’s the most up-to-date analysis of the biochemistry of father-child attachment as well as that of the countless benefits of paternal love to children.  It is both indispensable and easy to read.  We thank Dr. Machin for her blog, her book and her work in the field of fathers, families and children. 

The First Love

The attachment between you and your parents as a child is arguably the most significant relationship in your life.  It is this bond that constitutes your first experience of human relationships, shaping the very architecture of your brain and influencing every relationship you have from here on in.   And as relationships are now acknowledged to be the most influential factor in your longevity, health and wellbeing, this very first ‘love’ has a vital role to play whatever age you are.

When Bowlby first defined the concept of attachment in the 1950s he saw it very much as a state which existed exclusively between mother and child, the mother being the sole source of the food, water, care and nurture which are critical to the survival of the largely helpless human baby.  However, in recent years as our knowledge of the science and behaviour of fatherhood has grown it is now very clear that both parents experience this profound and intense bond with their child. But the nature of these attachments are crucially different.

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