Oindrila's Corner: Teaching Trust to your Baby
"Oindrila, our parenting guru, talks about ways of cultivating trust and hope in our babies. An essential read on techniques for teaching trust to children."
Perhaps the most common mistake we parents make is to believe infancy is only about achieving physical milestones. In reality, one of the biggest personality traits – Trust – is learnt in the first eighteen months, which in grown-up years manifest as HOPE.
So, what makes our children 'hopeful' adults? It is the nature and quality of interaction with parents and primary caregivers during the formative years - more precisely from birth to 18 months.
The three factors that fuel this stage of emotional development are: 1. Are baby's needs met? 2. Are needs being met consistently? 3. Are the needs met in a caring way?
1. Respond cry with love:
In the initial years cry forms a key medium of communication between mommy and baby. Responding to cry patiently and meeting the desired need with a smile makes baby learn that people can be trusted.
2. Use feed time for bonding:
Being fed is the most important part of need fulfilment. Give exclusive attention to baby while nursing, smile, say I Love You, shower kisses and make conversation in soft tone.
3. Respect fears:
Baby's limited understanding of the world makes them vulnerable and fearful. At this age no amount of logic helps. Neither does forceful exposure to the feared object. Force or ridicule not only make the child timid but also breeds mistrust. It leads to a belief that those we love can also be inconsistent and unpredictable thus should not be trusted completely. Instead of saying, "It is only a toy there is nothing to be scared" try saying, "I know you are scared of the noise the toy makers. Should we switch it off?" This will make the child believe you are in control of the situation and have the power to keep her safe.
Acknowledge hurt. "Nothing happened" is the most common statement grown ups make when baby falls. While meant well, this gives the message that "My mommy does not understand my pain." In later years the child may not trust the parent to understand their feelings and refrain from sharing her emotions or hurt. "I know that hurts" OR "I am Sorry you got hurt" could be better ways of addressing the situation.
Keep it consistent. While babies can bond or connect in a loving way with all those people who take care of them, they form a secure attachment with only one person – the person who spends the most time caring for them. It is important to ensure that this 'special person' is a member of the family and preferably a parent.
Psychologist recognizes that on this foundation of trust and security, a child's emotional life is built and has a direct effect on behaviors in later life.