Are You Ever Too Old To Have A Teddy Bear?
Written by: Kat Gal
My first friend was a little, red, flat cat. Turns out I had two of them. When the first one lost its eyes, my mom proceeded to buy a new identical one to replace it. Of course, a year or so later the second version lost its eyes too.
I am 33, but I’ll admit, I love stuffed animals. Despite being a nomad, my Snoopy that I had since I was 10 is always in my backpack, moving with me from country to country. I am not ashamed of this either; my husband even got used to sharing our bed with my stuffed animal buddy.
Having a stuffed animal, blanket, or something similar is normal for a child. They are known as transitional objects as defined by Dr. D. W. Winnicott, child psychologist back in 1951. They helped infants and young children to move from early mother stages to object stage. They serve as stepping stones, comfort and hold special significance. They can help children cope with separation when going to daycare, school, or summer camp. I bet you still remember your favorite ‘friend’ from childhood too.
It may not surprise you that 60% of kids have some sort of comfort objects, but you may be more shocked knowing that 35% of adults too.
Though in the 1970s it was a popular belief among psychologists that having such objects as adults is the sign of unsecure and otherwise shaky attachment to one’s mother, this opinion has since changed.
It looks like even grown-ups need security blankets. According to Psychology Today, you are never too old to have a teddy bear, blanky or other security comfort object. These comfort objects can signify comfort for adults, as well as represent happy times related to their childhood. I know that for me, Snoopy reminds me of all my fun trips, including summer camps, family travels, my first solo trip and all my adult travels.
Comfort objects can represent connection to your family, to people close to you and even to yourself. They can also help you work and connect with your special child. They can help you deal with and heal from physical health issues, emotional distress, mental illness, various pain and stress in general and are also great ‘supporters’ in happy times.
While females tend to be more comfortable having a comfort object around, there is no shame in this for males either – yup, guys need comfort just as much as ladies do.
When thinking of comfort items, think outside of the box. While many adults in fact do have teddy bears or other objects a child may have, these comfort items also often change as we grow older. From teddy bears you may ‘graduate’ to journals, picture albums, a favorite coffee mug, or something else.
In my case, along with my Snoopy, I definitely keep multiple journals around for a variety of reasons to write down deep and personal thoughts and feelings. While Snoopy is great for a good cuddle and brings an instant smile on my face, my journals are my close friends that allow me to be myself, to express myself, to work through things and to reach for the sky. I personally think that they are great and are in perfect alignment with my introverted personality.
In short, security and comfort objects can take various forms, but they hold no age boundaries.
What was your first childhood friend (comfort object)? Do you still have him/her/it around? What are your comfort objects as an adult? In what ways do they make your life better? Share in the comments below, we would love to hear your stories.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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