Mothers play an essential role in a child’s upbringing. But what may be less understood is how the mother-child relationship forms the basis for a child’s sensory development, learning, emotional regulation and ability to understand what is safe in the world.
A newborn infant understands very little about the world and requires their ‘mother’ to be attuned to them and understand and meet their needs. As a child grows, they learn what is good, safe, and comfortable based on how the mother reacts to their exploration and behaviour. This is well encapsulated in a well-known interaction where a child may trip over, look to their parent and based on the parent’s response either stand up and brush themselves off, or cry and seek a hug. The popular ‘Circle of Security’ training outlines that necessity of having a ‘safe haven’ or ‘stable base’, like their mother. This allows a child to feel confident to explore, risk and attempt new things, knowing they can come back for reassurance, support, and safety if something were to go wrong.
At Family Connections, we see mothers and their role as foundational to our work with the families coming to us. We recognise that ‘mother’ may be a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, carer, or their father, and applaud all ‘mothers’ as they play an essential role in the work and support we provide to every child walking through our doors.
Author: Caitlin Venn – Occupational Therapist