Parental Bonds

In these days of obsessive parenting, it is a tough gig being a parent. If you hover near your child at all times you are a helicopter parent doing more harm than good, but of course you don’t want to not be there when your children need you. For all those parents sitting quietly in the corner, rocking back and forth, wondering what to do, there is some good news; it seems that close bond you have with your children is actually good for them.

In the new study researchers first of all assessed the strength and security of the bond between a group of more than 100 mothers and their children. The children were two years and nine months old and the parents reported on their child’s temperament including anger and social fearfulness. Then at three years and three months children of the same gender were randomly paired and observed during three laboratory visits over the course of a month.

The observations revealed that kids with a secure bond to their parent were more responsive to the new peer partner the first time they met. The kids with secure bonds continued to be responsive over the next two visits except when their peer partners showed high levels of anger. More secure children were also more likely to use suggestions and requests with their “friends” as opposed to commands or intrusive behaviour. However, over the course of the three visits a securely bonded child did change their behaviour if they were paired with a highly angry partner.

So parents you can foster that bond knowing that your child will benefit. They will be gentler in their friendships by nature but they will be able to adapt when necessary. Hug your children people, and never let them doubt that you love them.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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