In a very cute and tender movie called Blended, which is about two divorced parents and their children coming together to form a blended family, both of the stars agree that you have to be there for your children all of the time. I love that and believe in being there. If you are present for your children, especially in the beginning, they have a greater chance of growing up to be strong, independent and healthy adults who know how to have healthy relationships with others. After all, our children learn from us. Right?
There is a quite a body of evidence for being there. In the 1940’s, John Bowlby researched the parent-child relationship in order to understand what effect this relationship has on the growing child and his or her understanding on how to love. He found that secure development comes from a relationship where the child has a mother who is there for him. Depending on the emotional climate at home or whether the mother is there for her baby some times and not others, or if there are periods of separation, the child will become avoidant, or clingy and anxious in their own future relationships. I think that all of us can reflect on our own upbringing and see these patterns in ourselves and that is why we desire as parents, to love our children in ways so that they will become secure loving adults.
Recently, I heard a new mother say that she and her husband weren’t going to let their baby change their life. I have often heard that said by parents before the baby is born, and think to myself right, they just don’t don’t know yet. However, this couple said that after they had their child. I put myself in that baby’s place and wonder what kind of love is being learned in that family and how will that impact the child’s sense of security in future relationships.
What are your thoughts about bonding and the parent/child relationship?