Forming A Bond With Your Child
I will start off by saying that I feel like the bond I have with my son is brilliant, I am defiantly his ‘go to’ person and he is defiantly the typical child you read about who will walk straight past their father and go on a wild adventure just to ask you to get them a drink.
However, it has taken time to get to this stage. As a baby I found it very difficult to feel any type of bond with my son, in fact I would go as far as saying he terrified me. Therefore, I did a lot of reading and found that this was in fact perfectly normal and that bonds are not instantly created, it is more a process that develops throughout time.
This has defiantly been the case for my son and myself. It has been a long process but we are getting there.
Why is it important to bond with your child?
A bond is the tie that forms the attachment to a child and its parents, the bonding process although natural does not always come as easy as you would imagine and it is a process that needs to be constantly maintained.
It is important however to try to bond with your child, experts state that a good parent child bonds aids a child’s physical health, mental health, academic ability, social development, and emotional development.
It has been found that adults who formed a close strong bond with their primary caregiver as babies are more likely to grow into fully capable emotionally and physically health adults. The earliest stages of the bonding process it is created by a parent caring for and tending to their babies basic needs and progresses as a child grows, develops, and matures.
Benefits of a strong bond
The bond between a parents and their child is mutually beneficial. The benefit to the parent is a boost of Oxytocin, a chemical that is produce through acts of love and bonding. The simplest of acts, such as cuddling your child will result in a boost of Oxytocin.
The benefits to the child, as well as the production of Oxytocin include feelings of security and attachment. These are important for your child as the world can be often scary and overwhelming for children so a strong bond is essential for allowing a child a safe place, you, to go to when things become too much.
Bonds throughout development
The bond between mother and child is thought to start before your child is even born. During pregnancy, a baby gets to know their mothers voice, smell, and heartbeat. A baby will feel comforted after birth, as these are familiar by these things. Babies will also recognise other voices and sounds that they heard often during pregnancy, such as the voice of the father or sibling or the sound of TV shows or music that were frequently played.
Bonds continue to develop throughout the baby’s life; the first year is especially seen as very important as it is during this time that the bond between their child and primary caregiver is formed and a level of love and trust is formed between parent and child. Babies often find great comfort from their primary caring/ parents and will often reject others in favour of the primary caregiver/ parents.
This can be upsetting for the wider family, however this is perfectly normal and children begin to form bonds with the wider family at a later stage. As a child grows up, their social circle will grow to include other family members, friends, other caregivers, etc.
Childhood bonds with other key figures
Throughout a child’s life they will form bonds with a wide range of people, including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/ uncles, cousins, great grandparents/ aunts/ uncles, friends, caregivers, other people they regularly see.
Although I have mainly focused on parents so far, the truth is a child will form many different bonds throughout their childhood and beyond. As an adult we start to form bonds with spouses and work colleagues amongst others, (my family has become quite friendly with the staff at Iceland and the local cafe).
Essentially, as we get older bonds will start to naturally develop with a number of different people, however childhood is so important because that is the time that children learn what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
A lifelong process
A bond will take a while to develop and maintain, they will not form overnight, it takes time. The best way to ensure your child forms many healthy bonds with a wide range of people is time and opportunity.
The more time you spend with your child, or they spend with other key figures in the life and the more you and others interact with your child the stronger the bond will become.
How can I strengthen my bond with my child
Bonds develop through time and interaction, so anything you do together with your child will help strengthen your bond with them.
With a baby this will include basic care acts such as feeding and changing them, as well as singing, snuggling, and rocking them.
With older babies and children, this will include playtime, activities, teaching them skills, stories.
With children and teenagers there are also opportunities to develop bonds through school work and activities as well as various hobbies and classes children will take part in.
As your child grows into an adult, although our influence and guidance in their life may lessen bonds will still go on. Who else will your child want to share news of their new job or promotion with, show off their new girlfriend/ boyfriend, or maybe just maybe show off their new baby, and so the cycle starts again.
New life, new bonds.
The easiest thing to do really is find something special that is comfortable for you and your child enjoys. If I go back to my family, bedtime is defiantly something special that I mainly leave to my husband if he is around. I will do bedtime if my husband is out or my son specifically asks for me, but if my husband is around and my son does not ask for me then I leave them to do bedtime together.
This is nice because quite often my husband’s work hours mean that he misses most of the day, by giving them this time just the two of them its an opportunity to strengthen their bond and it also give me a chance to get a few bits done.
I on the other hand mostly do the first thing in the morning wake up call. When my son wakes up the majority of the time I am the first person he sees and we get to spend a little time together before the morning starts. This has only really not happened on the few occasions I did an early morning shift. It works for us as I wake up a lot easier than my husband, although I do dream of being able to lie in!