Bonding With Your Child

Better bonding wiht your child. When the doctor cuts the umbilical cord at birth, the physical attachment to our mothers cease. This is when physical and emotional attachments begin.

Research has proven that without a secure mother figure, a child who is exposed to unexpected events will have an intense stress reaction. When the doctor cuts the umbilical cord at birth, the physical attachment to our mothers cease. This is when psychological and emotional attachments begin.

Being physically attached to our mothers while in the womb is a life sustaining attachment. Without it, we would never be born but research has shown that emotional and psychological attachment provides a foundation that allows us to thrive in the world. A firm bond between mother and child affects reactions later in life. It reflects how well children do in school, how they build relationships with friends and how well they react to stressful or new situations.

Babies often become very attached to their primary caregiver. In the 1950's, this was usually their mother. In the 90's and well into the future, it was, and will continue to be, more often than not, someone else.

Babies who are securely attached to a mother figure feel she is a safe base from which they can explore the world. They are assured by the presence of this mother figure and go to her when they are hurt, stressed or frightened. If the child does not have a concrete bond with their mother figure, they still seek her out but she is not of great comfort or assurance. This leaves a definite void in their lives. If a bonding occurs between a child and caregiver, what impact does this have on a child's life?

Infants who have a deep bonding with their mothers become very independent at a young age. This bond also boosts their self-esteem. It is the most important part of a child's life. Even when their lives are unstable, the bonding process enables them to be self-reliant and enjoy relationships with peers. These children are also more successful in school, especially in mathematics. Bonding creates within the child a sense of confidence and a positive attitude. This influences both attendance and achievement.

It has been found that the lack of bonding in infants can have a life-lasting effect on a child. It has also been found that children who have formed deep bonds and suffer loss of the person they are bonded to will become less secure.

Infants that don't bond are more likely to be anxious and insecure. However, if their mothers enter into a loving relationship and rid themselves of anxiety and depression, the infant will become more secure. Infants are deeply affected by the emotions of those around them, especially their mother or mother figure.

If there is no motherly bonding whatsoever with a child, the result is a profound negative effect. This would occur when babies are abandoned at birth or sent directly to an institution. The child will have little or no physical or emotional bonding with its caregivers unless it is adopted quickly. Often, the staff or even a foster mother is so overworked that they do not have the time to bond with a child. If they do, this can lead to negative affects when the child and the caregiver are separated.

Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that is regulated by the pituitary-adrenal system. It works with adrenaline to regulate sugar levels in the blood. Cortisol dampens the body's reaction to stress by suppressing the immune system. Touch is crucial to the regulation of the stress-response system. It can affect a child's motor skills and memory. During the average day a typical child's cortisol level peaks in the morning and decreases in the evening. In children who have no motherly attachment, the cortisol levels continue to increase during the morning and only decrease slightly by evening.

In the nineties and probably well into the future, more children are being placed in daycare centers. The staff of these facilities becomes the child's primary caregiver. This title also includes parents, grandparents or any person who cares for the child during the day.

Infants and small children form a bond with the person who diapers, feeds and comforts them. Researchers have found that 50% of children form the same type of bond with primary caregivers as they form with their mothers. The only difference is that 70% of children form a close bond with their mother. The lower rate of bonding with caregivers probably reflects a lower quality of care and closeness.

Studies have found that children who have formed a close bond with primary caregivers are sociable and gregarious. Those children lacking a secure bond are more likely to be antisocial, withdrawn, hostile and aggressive.

Bonding develops through interaction. Breastfeeding, reading to your child or any activity where you spend one-on-one quality time with your child turns into a bonding experience. Horseplay, heart-to-heart talks and just listening intently to what your child has to say can create a strong bond that will last forever.

Research has found that society needs to find ways to ensure that mothers can stay at home with their children. This usually, though not always, ensures high quality care and a firm bonding process.

Trends of today make it almost impossible for mothers to stay at home and care for their children. If it is necessary for mothers to work, they should take great care in choosing a primary caregiver. Whether it is a daycare facility, a realtive or a hired daycare provider, it is a parent's responsibility to ensure that their children have someone with which to form a strong bond. This will give the child a firm foundation on which to base his/her life. After all, children are our most precious assets. They are the future of the world.

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