These needs include food, shelter, affection, and a secure base to go explore their world. They form a bond with a primary caregiver that will provide these needs. There are four basic features of this attachment bond: maintaining physical proximity, seeking comfort when needed, experiencing distress when separated from the caregiver, and seeing the caregiver as a secure base to explore their surrounding environment. (Hazan & Diamond, 2000) The baby looks to this person in times of anxiety or fear and, most importantly, shows obvious signs of distress when taken from this caregiver. The strongest evidence for this bond is this separation anxiety. A child will show signs of distress even if his or her basic needs are met (food, hygiene, etc.) by someone else. This clearly shows a bond is formed. The baby displays a need for more than just biological necessities.
Separation anxiety shows itself in three stages. The intensity and duration of each stage may vary, but a securely attached child will go through all three stages. The first stage is a time of protest. The child will cry and actively search for the missing caregiver. The child seems to find no comfort in anyone else’s attempts to calm him or her. Anyone who has visited a daycare has seen this stage. A mother hands her child to the daycare provider and the child cries, sometimes for hours, and waits by the door for their mother to return. Everything the child could ever need is at the daycare, snacks, people to take care of him or her, and even lots of toys to provide stimulus and play opportunities, but the child still shows an anxiety when they are taken from their primary caregiver. The second stage is classified as despair. When it seems the caregiver is not coming back soon, the child becomes depressed and lethargic. He or she does not want to play or engage in other activities that once were fun. They seem lost and heartbroken over their missing caregiver. And finally, when no hope is left for the return of the caregiver, the