Why are secure, secondary attachments so important for your child?
Most of us, at various time points, have tried securing our homes and surroundings in an attempt to keep our children out of physical harm. However, rarely are we conscious of creating a circle of secured relationships that they can fall back on during emotionally trying times.
What is the need for a secured attachment (other than parents)?
A rise in the number of double income families and single parenting set-ups, has drawn the attention of childcare experts to the need for raising securely attached children. With a busy lifestyle, consistently catering to children’s emotions becomes very demanding on parents. More often, today’s parents seek assistance of nannies or day-care professionals (in many cases untrained house helps), permanent presence of whom cannot be guaranteed.
While parents continue to be considered as the primary attachment figures (well, in most cases), the role of grandparents or close relatives as secondary attachment figures have come more in light.
- Healthy secondary attachment deepens the sense of security and emotional stability in children, as a result they learn to trust the world
- Presence of secured relationships in early years makes emotional reliance predictable later
- Children with secured secondary attachments feel protected, for they know they can depend on these relationships, in the absence of parents
- A wider circle of secured relations helps in developing a sense of self-worth and, helps in forming strong relationships with peers in the future
The common myths about securely attached relationships
- Biology (the ones who give birth) is all it takes to form a secure bond
- The amount of time spent with the child is directly proportionate to the quality of attachment developed
- Children get attached only to those members who live under the same roof
In reality, for infants to develop trust they need to experience a sense of reliability. An adult who is constituently sensitive and attuned to the baby’s communications will always have an advantage over an adult who is physically present but fails to be consistent in giving care.
Developing securely attached relationship
- Identify family members (can be friends or neighbours too, however in most times family guarantees a more permanent presence) who can be included in your child’s circle of trust.
- To build happy memories, create engagements that are exclusive to each of the members. Keep aside certain books that only grandma reads or, mark activities, like gardening, that they always do with a particular aunt.
- Create a consistent channel of communication. While technology can be of great help, a handmade greeting card, handwritten letters or exchange of personalised gifts deepens the sense of belonging, keeping the memory alive for a longer time period.
- It is also important that each of these relations grow independent of parental involvement. Parents must give the two adequate space to interact with each other without hovering over or around them. Allowing them to indulge children and, respecting the little secrets that they may create goes a long way in fostering the bond.
- Finally, once the circle has been identified, parents must keep all differences of grown-up world to self. However strong the resentments are, dragging children in it must be avoided. Coming to terms with the negatives of a loved one is far more disturbing and, can do permanent damage to a child’s ability to trust anyone anymore.
Secure relationships with friends, family members, teachers and others make for a happy childhood and ensure emotional security in future too.
Look for the people on whom your child can fall back on, in your absence.
Also Read other titles by the author - Be The Super Hero Dad!, Let’s Talk About Death With Our Children, Oindrila's Corner: Are you making your child codependent?, Oindrila's Corner: Teaching Trust to your Baby, Being the ‘Good’ parent is not so difficult, after all!.
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