Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I have recently learned something new about child development. Apparently two year-olds are at a stage of development wherein attachment is “polarized.” This means they can only hold one significant attachment in mind at a time. That can shift from moment to moment, but it’s just a limitation they have. This explains why some kids insist that only Mommy can change the diaper, and a few minutes later claim that only Daddy can read a book. This seemingly irrational behavior has a place and a developmental purpose, which is reassuring if you are wondering if you are raising a toddler with multiple personality disorder.

I found that explaining this fact to my 2 year-old’s older sisters made a world of difference to them as well. We went from a situation in which my kids were hurt, disappointed, and confused that their little sister would fawn all over one and rebuff the kind efforts of the other.

Now that they understand this, they know their little sister admires and loves them both, and that it’s just that she can only focus on that love and admiration for one of them at a time.

The other day, when asked if she would help her Little Sis put toothpaste on her toothbrush, Middle Sister wisely said, “It all depends if she chooses me to help her today. It’s out of my control.”

1 comment:

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

I think Mica is still very strongly in this stage (he will be 4 in October). He has a lot of difficulty moving his attachment between Rom and I and will often call one of us by the name of the other in the first few minutes he is with us. He often catches himself and tries to correct it, which has led to the rather interesting amalgamation of "MaPa". :)