Mother Child Relationship
Mothers and their
children are connected even before birth. All those months spent together mark
the beginning of a sometimes challenging, yet rewarding, relationship. Moms
have an important role in their child’s mental health because they provide
basic necessities (i.e. food, water, shelter, and sleep) and form a secure
attachment with their young child. Attachment is the emotional bond that
develops between an infant and caregiver. Children who have healthy attachments
with their caregivers are more likely to form stable relationships later in
life. Mothers, therefore, are in the unique position of influencing their children’s growth is all
areas of development, beginning with the bonding and attachments that they
usually develop with their children.
Mothers and their
children are generally said to bond in the first few hours after the birth.
Bonding, or the development of trust between a mother and her child, begins
from the moment the two are brought together. During this time mothers often
breastfeed their children and hold them close, thus keeping the two in physical
contact for the first precious hours and days of the infant’s life.
There are many reasons
that mothers and their babies may not be in contact immediately following
birth, such as complications with the delivery or a premature baby that
requires medical treatment, and a physical distance does not in any way mean
that bonding will not occur. On the contrary, it is when mothers and babies are
in close contact but do not bond that there may be long lasting consequences.
There is plenty of time for bonding in the
first six months or so, so mothers should feel no pressure to bond instantly
with their children. Instead, through meeting her child’s needs and giving the
child reasons to trust her, a mother builds up a bond over many months.
Forming an attachment with your children involves:
Providing a safe living
Talking to them
Laughing and playing with
Making sure they get
Feeding them and eating
with them at mealtimes
expectations for them and setting limits
Learning to understand
their unique way of expressing themselves (i.e. facial expressions, sounds they
make, how they communicate their needs)
In addition to nurturing children, setting
limits is an important part of the mother-child relationship. Children should
not run the household, you should – and can. Be clear with your child when
setting a limit. For example, “It’s not okay to pour water on the couch; we
should put it in the sink.” In this example, you identified an unacceptable
behavior and told the child the behavior you wish to see. Remember, once you
tell your child what to do, you must follow through. If the child does not listen
to what you said, it may be necessary to help her complete the task. For
example, you might walk with her to put the cup of water in the sink.
Being able to form a healthy and safe
attachment with your son or daughter begins with you taking care of yourself.
As a mom, you are often busy, and stress can really wear you down. Just like
your child, the first step is to meet basic needs (i.e. food, water, shelter
and sleep). Without enough sleep or food, you cannot be at your best. When
these needs are met, it is important to think about how you deal with stress.
Do you let it build up until you explode with anger and frustration? Do you
take it out on your family and kids? Do you feel sad and hopeless? These are
all common reactions to stress and you deserve some support. If family or
friends are unable to provide support, you can look for community agencies,
like Penfield Children’s Center, which offer services that can benefit you and
your child. You can also find small ways to cope with your stress every day.
Throughout the day, emotions are constantly changing – happy to
sad, sad to frustrated, annoyed to angry – the list goes on. When you sense
that your emotions are moving away from your “norm” or “baseline,” (the emotion
you feel most often with minimal stress), it is time
to stop and think. By taking a couple seconds or minutes
to focus on your stress, you give your body and mind a chance to go back to
that “norm” or “baseline.”
Before you act on your stress, first:
Walk out of the room
Take deep breaths
Count to 10
Take a sip of water or
listen to music.
Then, take some time to think. What am I thinking? How am I
feeling? Am I calm yet? A healthy child can’t be raised without a healthy
parent. As a mother, you deserve to respect and love yourself for all that you
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