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When they are born, children are totally dependent on their caregivers. For several years they need by their side the figure of someone who meets their basic needs such as food, security or protection. The problem arises when there is early 'independence', in which the child has to separate from his attachment figure for external causes such as, for example, returning to work.
In response to this forced separation, the call appears children's comfort object to be able to tolerate loneliness and all the stresses to which it is exposed.
The term comfort object, which is also known as transitional object or attachment object, was coined by the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. For him, this type of object has the function of help the child cope with their fear of being abandoned. The little ones do not yet have the necessary skills to socialize and be independent. Therefore, the object of consolation helps them to control the anxiety generated by separating from their attachment figure, generally represented by their parents.
Any type of object or toy that meets this goal can be considered an object of comfort. Therefore, they can be: a stuffed animal, a doll, a cloth, a pacifier, tissues, blankets, etc. The variety of objects is infinite, but there is a condition that they must share the following characteristics:
1. The object is exclusive
The qualities of the object cannot be transferred to another. That is, the object cannot be replaced if the child does not decide so.
2. The child chooses it
It will not be an object that can be imposed by someone other than the child himself.
3. He is one of the family
The child is likely to attribute a certain vitality to the object. It is as if the object had life and was another member of the family.
4. Its particular smell
The object has a special smell for the child (it reminds him of the smell of his mother, of his family environment) that helps him gain security.
As we know, after the first year of life the world becomes a challenge for children. That is why the little ones turn to this type of object to face the unknown.
Therefore, the use of the comfort object is absolutely normal. This behavior usually gradually disappears before the age of four. Therefore, it is better that adults do not intervene and that let the child himself regulate the separation of the object.
It is possible that after stopping using the transitional object, he will resort to it at specific moments such as a move, the birth of a brother, the separation of parents etc. Its use is normal since it will help you overcome the anxiety that these types of situations generate.
It should be noted that there are children who do not use this type of object. The emotional process in each child is different. Some children, instead of using objects of comfort, adopt other types of special behaviors such as sucking their thumb, touching the earlobe, touching their hair, stroking their nose with the back of their hand, etc. These are called: transitional behaviors.
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