October 28, 2015

Why Is A Mother Child Bond So Special?

I want to make it clear that when I say mother and child, I’m talking about all mother and child relationships, including relationships where the mother did not give birth to the child but, instead, adopted the child. It doesn’t matter how they came together, the mother and child bond is an extremely special one. Most children will do anything for their mothers, and most mothers will do anything for their children. So, why is it so special?

Whether it is an instinctual or stereotypical issue, mothers are more likely to provide comfort to their children and help guide them into the person they become. Mothers are more willing to show their love and give hugs and cuddles when things have gone wrong. We tend to be drawn to people who are comforting towards us, and mothers have that softer, comforting quality that we crave.

In one study done by Harry Harlow on young monkeys, the theory that children require the comfort of their mother proved to be very true. The baby monkeys were deprived of food until they were desperately hungry and then given a choice of two mother figures to turn towards. One was a mother made of wire who had a bottle of milk that would take away the need for food, while the other was a mother made of cloth that would provide contact comfort. The monkeys would quickly run to the wire mothers and fill up on milk, and then just as quickly move to the comfort providing mother and snuggle for up to 18 hours. In fact, the infant monkeys would sometimes not go back to the wire monkey until they were close to starvation again.

Obviously the cloth monkey was not the monkeys real mother, yet because it offered a level of comfort, they still ran to it for comfort. While I believe the experiments done by Harry Harlow were cruel, they made it clear that it is essential to feel that emotional comfort from your mother.

Most of us know this to be true from our own experience. For instance, many of us know the feeling of desperately wanting our mothers when we are not feeling physically well. I remember being in my early twenties and still wanting my mom to help me when I got physically sick and was unable to get out of bed. Even though my father was around, my mother was the one I turned to for true emotional comfort. She understood what I needed and took action to take care of it. She made me feel safe and secure when I was unable to do it for myself.

With our mothers, we form a deep attachment bond. According to experts, this bond can be formed at any time or at any age, and it is not dependent on parental love of quality of care. It is developed from nonverbal emotional communication, and since our mother is more likely to be of an emotional nature, it makes sense that this bond would be generally stronger with our mothers. For instance, when we feel bad and our mothers give us a hug or a kiss, that attachment bond is strengthened.

This bond dictates how our life will go. If you feel secure and understood with your mother, you will be provided with a strong foundation for life. Self-awareness, trust, and empathy are just three of the traits develop from a strong parental bond. [Source: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/secure-attachment/how-to-build-a-secure-attachment-bond-with-your-baby.htm]

Alternatively, if you feel insecure and misunderstood with your mother, then mental, emotional, and physical development can all be affected negatively.

In short, a mother and child bond is so special because it gives us comfort and security when we need it. It also provides a platform for building personal strength, empathy, and awareness in life, which is essential to developing a happy and healthy life.

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