Dependable Relationships for Child Development


To grow up as healthy, happy and mature adults, young children need an enduring parental figure or figures who provide security and comfort along with opportunities for exploration and excitement.  As they grow older their need for parental encouragement to explore the outside world increases as their need for security and comfort lessens.

Typically mothers provide more of the security and comfort that a young child needs and fathers offer more opportunities for exploration and excitement as the child grows older, although each parent will provide some of both.  Nevertheless either or both roles can be fulfilled by either parent, or by a single, or by adults who are close to the child.  

From the child’s point of view, the crucial thing is that these relationships are dependable and enduring and allow the child to feel safe and secure as he or she moves towards adulthood.

Adapted from notes from Sir Richard Bowlby’s lectures to the Family Mediators Association’s Annual Conference in 2015

By Nicholas von Benzon Cheltenham Mediation Service

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Jason Conway