NUMBER 530 • 17 JUNE • INTERPERSONAL DEPENDENCE
Interpersonal dependence is an ongoing force in human existence. Throughout our lives, we tend to depend on one or several central persons — parent or an alternate caregiver, a partner, or friends — for intimate, mutual care experiences. Dependence on personal nurturance is as essential as our dependence upon food and shelter. Thus, we do not develop from a state of dependence to one of independence; development is a continuous process and movement occurs from one level of dependence to another (Maier, 1986a). Certain caring persons e.g., parent, elder, or significant friend - tend to remain an ongoing part of our lives whether or not they are in close proximity.
In non-familial living situations, child care workers provide the main source and substance of care experience and are the pivotal people in the residents’ daily lives (Pecora & Cingerich, 1981). They are the people most accessible and instrumental in providing care: they are Peter’s care persons with "jellied crackers," The child care worker, as the target of the residents’ demands, is taken for granted, criticized, and cherished all at the same time. For the child, the care worker provides the essential experience of being cared for, of learning how to respond and to interact and, finally, to develop the capacity for extending caring to others.
Maier, H. Children and Youth Grow and Develop in Group Care. In Readings in Child and Youth Care for South African students 1st edition CT: The National Association of Child Care Workers p. 64
Pecora, P.J. &
Gingerich, W. J. (1981) "Worker Tasks and Knowledge Utilization in
Group Care: First Findings." In Child Welfare, 60(4), pp221-231