A Childs Attachment to a Lovey

A parent should be aware that when, and if, a youngster requires a ‘lovey’ it is his/her way of detaching from the strong dependence bond developed during infancy with the mother or both parents.

The infant-mother bond is a natural part of growing. It is necessary for the child to know that it will be taken care of and have a sense of security so that it can carry on with the learning process. When the child becomes a toddler and soon learns to stand on its own two feet, the mother (or parents) naturally allows the child more freedom and independence.

This involves a variety of events ranging from sleeping in his own room to being taken care of by someone other than his parents. These events are known as transitions-changing from one way of life or behavior to another. It is at this time that many children try to find ways to rely more on themselves and less on their mother or father. And it is at this particular time that children will become attached to another object to seek out the support in their new way of life.

These objects, also referred to as transitional objects, maybe  blankets, special soft toys or their own thumb. The ages at which children may become attached to such objects vary depending on when a transitional phase is introduced to the child (usually from nine months on). Contrary to many beliefs, it is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a mechanism with which the child embraces or confronts new or difficult situations.

A child’s new ‘attachment’ is necessary for a smooth transition, as mentioned before, from one state to another. Some children have such an independent character or sense of security that they never require a special object to make their transitions.  When a child does, however, develop a bond with a comfy object, he usually connects unique feelings he had with his mother (or both parents) to this object.

In different areas of the world ‘lovies’ are viewed as negative, but it becomes negative only depending  upon the length of time the child continues to be reliant on his comfort object. In a healthy family atmosphere, the child will leave his lovey behind when he matures and has a broader sense of security within his family.

A parent must never use his/her child’s comfort lovey as a means of reward or punishment. Nor should the parent’s anger be taken out on this object, as the object itself, in essence, is a reference to the parent. This would confuse the child immensely. Never force the child to abandon this object before he feels ready to do so. Typically, most children will do so between the ages of three and five. If the period is prolonged, it is a sign that the child does not feel secure enough in his environment. With the help from an expert, it is the parents’ job to help the child feel independent and secure. Then he will no longer need his transitional object.

Finally, never overlook the power of love and affection towards one’s child. This comes in the forms of hugs, kisses, kind words, praise even scolding when necessary and, of course, trust. It speaks volumes and reinforces a sense of protection.