Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who is your child's anchor?

Let’s start by defining what an anchor is?

One of the definitions for “anchor” in the Oxford dictionary is “person or thing which provides stability or confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation
The MacMillan’s dictionary defines an anchor as “someone or something that is strong and reliable, and so makes people feel safe and confident”

What’s common between these 2 definitions?
The words - “Person” ,“stability”, “strong”, “reliable”, “confident”, “safe”
I think that pretty much sums up what is meant by a Child’s Anchor. To re-phrase Someone / Something that is strong and reliable; & makes a child feel safe, stable and confident – No matter what situation is in front of them

So, the next question which crosses my mind as a parent is this – “Who is your child’s anchor?”
The most evident and obvious answer again is Of course, PARENTS! (In majority of the cases)

The fact is this | Every child needs strong anchors during the formative years of development. Anchors have a huge impact on a child’s growth, thinking, mind-set, values and view towards the world and life in general; and this in some way determines how your child will eventually turn out!
Children typically need anchors across the following dimensions:
·         Physical Anchor  - Someone who takes care of the physical needs of a child (read as food, clothes, living environment, etc.) and is physically present with the child - in “real life” and “real time”
·         Emotional Anchor – Someone who the child is emotionally connected with, and who provides the emotional support through the good, bad and ugly. From time immemorial, mothers have typically been the emotional anchors for a child!
·         Social Anchor – Someone who provides the child with the social stimulus, interactions and opportunities to connect, and engage with people and the world at large, and this helps in the social development of a child
·         Intellectual Anchor – Someone who provides the child with food for thought, questions and answers at various stages of development
·         Financial Anchor – Someone who takes care of the child’s financial needs and requirements
Interestingly, if you look at the way we have evolved in the last few decades, there is a huge shift in who plays the role of these anchors. The primary reason being the increasing number of educated and working mothers.

The key differences are listed below:

In the past
Physical Anchor
Mother  - in majority of the cases
Mother / Father / Maids or Nannies / Grandparents
Emotional Anchor
Mother – in majority of the cases
Mother / Father / Friends / Social Media / Maids or Nannies / Grandparents
Social Anchor
Mother / Father – Based on individual personality types
Mother / Father / Friends / Social Media / Maids or Nannies / Grandparents
Intellectual Anchor
Father - in majority of the cases
Mother / Father / Friends / Social Media /  Grandparents
Financial Anchor
Father - in majority of the cases
Mother / Father

On the positive side, it is good that children have so many anchors today. But how effective each of these anchors are and how they impact your child’s overall development; only time will tell!

On the negative side, I’m not so sure if having so many anchors actually helps a child. Sometimes, as a child - it’s probably simpler if you have just one anchor and know for sure who he / she are!

And I really don’t know how these anchors will evolve / change in the future?
Ending with some food for thought:
·        * Who are your child’s anchors on the dimensions above?
·        * Does your child know this?
·        * Are children better off having so many anchors today?
·        * How do you think these anchors will change with time?

What’s your view on the above? Leave a comment to let me know

Originally published on Parentous; Edited and re-published here

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