All children are born with the primary need to establish a stable and secure bond with a mother or father figure. This is called "attachment".
Simple survival, babies quickly form a bond with the person who is with them most often. It is thanks to this bond of attachment that baby will feel safe enough to explore his environment. It is therefore the basis of all future relationships of the child, and the quality of the bond plays an important role in the life of a human being. If a baby's first bond of attachment is generally established with his mother, the one he shares with his father is just as rich. It also happens that an attachment bond is formed with another “parental” figure, such as an aunt, a grandparent or even an educator. Nevertheless, it is the one that the child forms with his parents that remains the most important.
The benefits of a strong bond of attachmentThe more stable and secure the bond between a child and his parents, the better equipped he will be to deal with the difficulties of life. Not only will a child who feels loved and protected feel worthy of affection, but they will also have a very positive perception.of others. It will therefore be easier for him to reach out to others, to explore, to dare. Since he knows that he can count on his parents, the child develops better self-confidence and will have more
ease in developing, physically, emotionally and intellectually. This is why the different stages of separation (such as daycare, school, etc.) will not be as difficult as for a child whose attachment bond is deficient.
In short, as we mentioned, the quality of the attachment bond is closely linked to the quality of the child's future relationships, since it facilitates the learning of social skills, such as empathy. Furthermore, an American study recently demonstrated that boys who have developed a strong bond of attachment are 2.5 times less likely to have behavioral problems at school, even if they grew up in a disadvantaged environment.
On the other hand, the child whose attachment bond is deficient has less self-confidence. He also has much more difficulty functioning in a group, since he tends to detach himself from the people around him. It even happens that some children develop distrust of adults. In the longer term, experts have shown that children who fail to develop an adequate attachment bond with a mother or father figure are more likely to be aggressive, defiant or hyperactive. They would also have morelanguage difficulty, and problems at school. Already in the 1950s, Bowlby, a British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst famous for his work on attachment, established a parallel between behavioral disorders, delinquency and the deficiency of the attachment bond.
While the early years of life are very important for establishing a bond of attachment, it nevertheless builds and solidifies throughout a lifetime, and certain behaviors can favor it.
- Consoling baby when he cries: before 18 months, baby crying is not synonymous with whims. Indeed, at this age, the child's brain is not developed enough for it to be able to do so. If he cries to be caught, he needs reassurance. Thus, by taking him, you are not “giving in”, you are rather showing him that he can count on you: you are securing him.
- Be consistent: when he needs something, give it to him, whether it's a drink, a meal, or just a hug.
- React quickly: if you react quickly to his crying, baby will experience less stress. This will help her feel safe.
- Show tenderness: caress, rock, talk softly to baby.
- Accept the child as he is: we all have strengths and weaknesses. By accepting your baby as he is, without judgment, you are building self-esteem.
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Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, either because we are experiencing depression or a particularly difficult situation. If this is your case, do not hesitate to ask for help: your spouse, a parent or a loved one will be able to take care of the baby while your situation stabilizes. The child needs his mother, but above all he needs a comforting presence. There is no shame in asking for help: on the contrary!
Similarly, if you feel completely overwhelmed and don't understand what your child wants or needs, talk to a doctor right away. He will certainly be able to enlighten you.