Currently, the idea of Attachment Parenting (AP) is promoted. This term was established by an American paediatrician, William Sears, and concerns the “parenting philosophy” drawn from the development psychology and based on the theory of attachment of John Bowlby. The basis of attachment parenting is creation of safe bond between a child and caretakers which, in the future, will condition the strength and quality of social relations as well as have a key impact on the later child life. If parents are sensitive, they help a child to build a safe style of attachment which contributes to correct social and emotional development as well as influences the sense of happiness.
Less sensitive and emotionally detached parents - who neglect child’s needs - do not provide conditions for creation of safe bond style. The elements of attachment parenting include, e.g. “ensuring nutritional touch” and, exactly on this basis, the child massage becomes more and more popular.
The massage constitutes a factor which supports a very important stage of child personality development. A French psychologist, Henri Wallon, identifies the child personality with its psychophysical essence. Therefore, according to his concept, the base of mental changes are the processes taking place in the child body. The first three stages of development are enclosed within the neonate period with embryonal period. The first stage covers the life inside the uterus. It is the period of total biological dependence on the mother whose body fulfils all the child’s needs, even before they appear. The second stage is a stage of motor impulsivity - there is still a symbiosis between a child and mother, however, a neonate lives in a new environment in which it fulfils the need of oxygen on its own with the use of the breathing reflex. As late as at the third stage, the physiological symbiosis turns into an emotional bond between a child and mother and, for this reason, this stage can be called an emotional stage. A child still does not differentiate itself from the surroundings, does not have a sense of its own body, physical separateness, including mental separateness - does not know that it exists. Tactile impressions enable a child to “create itself”, know its own body, set its boundaries and become aware of its own separateness.
The fulfilment of the need of emotional contact (performed in the first stage, most of all, in contact with one person - most often, a mother) guarantees a child a sense of safety. The attachment plays a function of protection from situations threatening with some danger, releases from fear of strangers, objects and sites, darkness, animals and anxiety caused by violent movements. Failure to fulfil this need results in many negative consequences not only felt directly but also in the future. The long-term consequences are personality deformations manifesting themselves in different types of complexes, whereas the immediate effects concern not only the emotional zone (predominance of negative emotions, lack of sense of safety, conduct in contacts with other people), but also the development of intellect, speech and even physical condition. It turns out that children separated from their mothers show different types of symptoms of lack of adjustment.
The valuable skill of correct reaction to stressful situations acquired in childhood is permanently included in the defensive set of adult age. The skill of conscious relaxation is really useful in fighting different types of pressures existing in the modern world. It turns out that the type of relationships which we establish with other people in our adult age is the reflection of the type of bonds created in childhood. People who were provided with the sense of safety in that period (to whom parents paid a lot of attention, whom parents took on their hands, listened to and had good eye contact with; briefly speaking: who were loved and care for in the right manner) usually do not have any difficulties in establishing close contacts with other people. They are trustful and are perceived as such. Their relationships with partners are happier, last longer and relatively less often end up in divorce. In turn, children who were deprived of such bonds in childhood are characteristic of constant anxiety and lack of sense of safety. They are less sympathetic and it is more difficult for them to accept help from other people. They also cannot establish an intimate contact: their friendships or marriages are often victims of jealousy, fears and resistance from too close involvement.
So, the values constituting an essential element of child massages, such as trust, love, sympathy, warmth, openness or honesty will certainly bring profits in adult life.
To a neonate or child: