Friday, April 15, 2011


The severity and persistence of the effects of deprivation of love depend largely on the extent of the deprivation, when it occurs, how long it lasts, and whether a satisfactory source of love can be substituted for a normal, but unavailable, source.

If the deprivation of affection is very slight in extent, the desire for affection is sharpened. Children who must compete with their siblings for the mother's time and love become more friendly and eager to please. They seek more attention and affection from teacher and other adults than do childrens whose deprivation at home is extreme.

Pronounced deprivation of affection results in emotional starvation and intellectual torpor. deprivation of affection accompanied by intellectual stimulation, however, leads to autism, or "emotional refrigeration ,"in which the person show little or no interest in people and is cold, withdrawn and distant

The effects of deprivation of love on personality also depends on  when it occurs. The child is most vulnerable from 6 months to 4 or 5 years of age. If baby is separated from the mother before he  becomes accustomed to her child-care technique, he will adjust to the new situation provided that he is cared for by one person.

During the "critical period" of separation, between the last half of first year and the age of 5, the child who has no stable source of love is unable to learn to identify with or associate love with another person normally. As a result, he develops into an affection less person or an aggressive on who demand attention and affection from others. On the other hand, if separation from the mother, or a mother substitute who has provided a stable source of love, occurs after the critical period, the child can generally adjust to the change, understand why it has occurred, and from satisfying new emotional relationships.

There is little evidence that separation from the father during the "critical period" leads to any permanent damage. Since few young children develop an intense affectional attachment for their father comparable to that of their mother, the separation result no significant deprivation of affection.

Older children and adolescents deprived of a stable source of affection react differently from younger children, but the effect on their personalities is equally damaging. Loss of a parent, due to death or divorce, causes a typical grief  reaction, accompanied by feelings of insecurity and inferiority. If both parents are lost by death before the person is 14 or 15 years old, he feels inadequate, insecure, unwanted, and "different".

How long deprivation of love lasts influences its effect on the personality pattern. A short period of deprivation is more harmful in babies and young children than in those who are old enough to find a satisfactory substitute source of love. Among 2 years old, a separation from their mothers for only 19 days was reported to have " devastating" effects on children's personalities.

Much of the psychological damage of deprivation of love can be eliminated if a satisfactory substitute source of love can be found. Institutionalized babies, for example, have been reported to show none of the effects of deprivation of love if one person cares for them. Under the care of one person, they are assured of a stable source of affection and an understanding of their individual needs.

Older children and adolescents turn to the peer group for emotional satisfaction. If they are accepted by the group, the affection they find in peer relationships may compensate for lack of parental affection. Many adolescents, especially girls, find a member of the opposite sex a satisfactory substitute source of affection. For others, a crush on a teacher or an older member of their own sex serves as a satisfactory substitute. An adolescent who feels rejected both by his family and by the peer group is likely to get emotional satisfaction wherever he can, whether it be by joining a juvenile gang or by daydreaming.

In middle and old age, many people find that to some extent pets serve as a satisfactory substitute for the stable source of affection they were accustomed to before the death or divorce of a spouse or the departure of their children.


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