Talk about your childhood
Your own childhood has a big influence on what sort of a parent you become. Reflect on and talk about your upbringing and what you want – and don’t want – to pass on to your own child.
Think through your own childhood. Write down what you want – and don’t want – to pass on to your child. Share what you’ve written with your partner, midwife, doctor or somebody at the health clinic.
A child’s brain is not fully formed at birth. That means a great deal of development occurs during its first few years of life. This progress depends entirely on the presence of the immediate caregivers. You provide not only food, consolation and other physical needs, but also security, care and stimulation which teaches the infant to express its own feelings. Children seek and bond with those who offer security and care, and interaction with adults is crucial in their earliest years.
An infant’s brain is programmed for interaction with others, and babies communicate from the moment they are born. To begin with, this is a matter of it crying while adults try to find the right way to help. As newly fledged parents, you’ll eventually understand what your baby wants when it cries – food, sleep, or cuddles and closeness, for example. If you engage with your child through eye contact, it will gradually join in the interaction more through smiles, looks, sounds and body movements. As the months pass, this interaction will help to develop various forms of bonding between baby and adults.
The need to be looked after, to be cared for and to explore the world is central for all children. So it’s important for their development that they bond at an early stage with stable and dependable adults. Close relationships are highly significant for the way a baby’s brain develops. These bonds between infants and adults build on good interaction, and the baby will forge different ties to different adults. In many ways, the parental role is therefore to manage both your own and your child’s needs and feelings.
Everyone who becomes a parent carries with them experiences from their own childhood and upbringing. If you haven’t personally been given security and positive interaction, or have suffered from lack of care, violence or abuse, it can affect the way you act as a parent. Such unhappy experiences mean you’re particularly vulnerable to behaving in the same way towards your own child. That can make it difficult for you to meet the infant’s need for closeness and contact, or you could be predisposed towards being violent. So it’s very important to get help and guidance which allow you to reflect on and process your own childhood.
Infants need security and love. If you lacked this in your own upbringing, it can be hard to give it to your own child. Talk about this, that’ll make it easier to understand how your childhood has affected you.
Innholdet på denne siden er utviklet i samarbeid med psykologspesialist Anders Dovran og psykolog og fagansvarlig Stian Tobiassen, begge ansatt på Stine Sofie Senteret.