In post-war England, most children’s hospitals had a visitor’s policy that may shock you: children in long-term treatment for serious conditions were only allowed about one hour per week of visiting time from their parents. The prevailing thought was that too much “molly-coddling” would weaken the child.
A psychologist named John Bowlby didn’t agree. He did research to demonstrate that when parents visited, kids did
better – they were happier, and their physical well-being improved during the short visits from parents. Dr Bowlby went on to develop the theory of attachment, which states that children rely on a secure base (usually their parents) to feel safe, gain confidence, and thrive in a difficult and complicated world. Ongoing research showed that kids who were given lots of attention and unconditional love were happier, healthier, and grew up to be more successful in many ways.
Parent-child bonds grow in both good times and bad times. Positive moments between kids and parents are memorable and important, but so are the caring responses parents give to kids who are physically or emotionally hurt. You might remember going to your parents after falling off the jungle gym or being bullied. They couldn’t always “fix” your problems, but injuries and disappointments were somehow magically repaired with hugs, kisses, and kind words. The sense of security and love you felt took the edge off the pain, and increased your overall confidence.
Recognizing and reinforcing your role as a secure base for your kids might be the greatest gift you can give them as a parent. Here are four ways you can build on this relationship:
One of the big questions in parenting, which is more important: quality time, or quantity time? How about both! Quantity is important – spending time with someone leads to a feeling of comfort and safety, which inspires open conversation. The precious moment when your child opens up to you only comes after hours of seemingly mundane shared time. Quality time is also important: this doesn’t have to be fun parks and ice cream, it just means giving that person your full attention. We all know what it feels like to be with someone who isn’t really there. Rolling the ball along the floor with your toddler is one of the best ways to connect with them, unless you’re talking on the phone with someone else the whole time.
To some this comes easily, but to others…(read the rest of the story)
Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness