We all know the story of the beloved Peanuts character, Linus, and his security blanket. He was rarely seen without it and it represented an intense emotional attachment, which at times caused him emotional distress…weakness…dizziness… if he was deprived of it for even a short time. You might even remember that cute cuddly teddy bear that your family member gave to your child on the day he/she was born. Little did you know that many years later, that same little cute cuddly bear is now discolored, missing an eye, and has stitches from the multiple times you’ve sewn a leg back on. Yes…your child now has a “companion”.
In reality, soft comfort objects such as blankets, tattered old teddy bears, and even toys have been used by children for years and are usually given a special name, such as blankie or lovey. They are a natural part of growing up and provide the emotional support needed to help them feel safe and secure when away from parents, to soothe themselves when scared, or to cope with everyday feelings. Children begin attaching themselves to these comfort objects when they first try to form a connection with something besides their parents, usually the mother.
Although the comfort object may seem a disgusting and dirty to you, the young child uses it in times of stress. Just as Linus’ sister, Lucy, would try to force him to give up his blanket by stealing it or hiding it, parents will often use the same tactics to try to get their child to give up their companion. Children almost always outgrow the need for these comfort objects on their own, but at times, they may need a little help along the way. We’ve all had that “friend”, and by “friend”, I really mean myself, who had a security blanket until kindergarten, never realizing that the blanket was slowly becoming smaller and smaller until the only thing left was a square! Thanks Mom!!
So, no matter the name you choose…blankies, lovies, cuddlies, silkies, or teddies, we can all relate to having something from our childhood that made us feel safe. You might even still have it, as a keepsake, hidden away somewhere! What was YOUR companion?
Celebrate National Teddy Bear Day on September 9th!