How Parents Can Build a Secure Attachment in Their Babies
Follow these two important tips to help your baby feel safe at night.
The majority of parents have a tough time coaxing their babies to sleep. It’s hard to decipher what exactly the baby wants and what each cry means – leaving parents to try every trick in the book, but only to end up with a crying baby in their arms.
What parents might not be aware of is that according to psychologists, when a baby is 4 to 6 months old, he (or she) will develop the ability to soothe himself. This will help him develop a sense of security and build emotional intelligence. What usually helps is when the baby has a soothing toy within reach. This helps the baby understand that whenever he feels anxious or is crying, he can find security in the company of his beloved toy.
What is a Sense of Security?
A sense of security usually refers to an emotion, feeling, or psychology that emerges from the inner spiritual needs of individuals. It is a feeling that reassures, comforts, and builds emotions of trust and reliance, and is usually expressed through a sense of certainty and controllability.
As a key concept, it first appeared in the theoretical research of Austrian psychologist Freud’s psychoanalysis. Freud discovered that when stimulus received by the individual exceeds the limits of self-control and release and energy, the individual will experience a sense of trauma and danger. The experience accompanying this feeling of trauma and danger is anxiety, which can only be resolved with a sense of security.
The Importance of Cultivating Your Child’s Sense of Security
A baby’s lack of security during infancy can cause anxieties that are difficult to cope with, causing a refusal to interact with strangers, a lack of desire in exploring new things, a fear of strangers and new environments, and even a dislike of and unwillingness to attend school.
In Freud’s psychoanalysis, it is mentioned that a lack of security in the control and satisfaction of certain desires during an individual’s childhood and adulthood is a key cause of conflict, anxiety, and defence mechanisms in adulthood.
Therefore, when your baby is still in his infancy, you must focus on developing his sense of security which often comes from self-soothing abilities and parent-child attachment.
The Two Ingredients to Your Baby’s Sense of Security: Self-Soothing and Parent-Child Attachment
Boost His Sense of Security with Comfort Objects
Your baby’s mind and body is full of smarts and have in-built mechanisms to balance out stress on its own. Behaviours that actively resolve stress and promote self-soothing to boost a sense of security include sucking fingers and biting blanket corners.
That’s why babies in this period will typically require some comfort objects of his own. These comfort objects can effectively help his release stress and achieve self-soothing. For example, a baby crying in the middle of the night can comfort himself with the Fisher-Price’s Soothe N Glow Seahorse, which is a unique plush soother that helps comfort your baby just like you do. Its soft belly moves up and down in a rhythmic motion that mimics your breathing to help soothe your baby naturally, along with up to 30 minutes of calming music, sound effects and soft lights. This calming motion and gentle music help comfort your baby, giving them the sense of security they need.
Good Parent-Child Attachment and Companionship Is Paramount
Parent-child attachment is a tendency for babies to physically and psychologically seek for and maintain close practice with their caregivers. A good parent-child attachment is one that is positive and affectionate. Faced with stimulations or an unfamiliar environment, the baby seeks for his caregiver for a sense of security and to overcome his fears and anxieties.
However, not all parent-child attachment relationships are good! Of the 3 common parent-child relationships – (1) secure attachments, (2) avoidant/dismissive attachments, and (3) anxious-resistant attachments – only a secure attachment can empower a baby to enjoy a strong sense of security, so that he can actively explore and play in unfamiliar environments as well as calmly cope with separations.
It is clear that if you wish to establish a good attachment relationship with your baby, you must cultivate and establish a secure attachment.
This means not only meeting the baby’s physical needs, but also his psychological needs. For a baby more than 4 months old, his strongest psychological need is the companionship of his parents. Kisses and caresses will strengthen your connection with him through intimate contacts.
Finally, aside from hugs and kisses, you can also create a comfortable, familiar and safe environment for your baby using soft lights, cute animal images and other objects, so that he feels safe and relaxed in a comforting atmosphere.
Cultivating your baby’s sense of security takes time, and must start from a young age. It should be the top priority of all parents. While a temporary material deficiency can be remedied in the future, a lapse in sense of security caused by a moment of negligence may potentially scar your child for his entire lifetime. That’s why you must start with providing a comfort object he can rely on and with building a good parent-child attachment relationship to help him develop a sense of security.
Nonetheless, as every baby is unique in temperament, it is important to note that the tips given in this article are only for reference. Should you have any better tips, do comment below to share with other mums in need!
All parenting advice in this article is only intended for reference. We recommend that you consult your healthcare provider for help and advice. how to promote secure attachment
This article was contributed by Fisher-Price and republished on theAsianparent with permission.