Finding comfort in a familiar friend

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of reading through dozens of essay contest submissions for our fourth annual contest, in which I asked kids and teens to answer the question: “What is your most prized possession?”    

I expected to read about tablets or cell phones, a PS4, Beats headphones — any technology you see on the ears and in front of the eyes of kids.

So I was surprised that I did not receive an entry that mentioned anything with Apple or Samsung in the name. 

The items kids wrote about were sentimental and ranged from a Bible to a dollhouse to pets — dogs, cats, horses, even a rabbit.

But what was talked about most by our young writers was their stuffed animal. Like the live versions, the ones of the stuffed variety include a number of species — from dogs to bears to frogs. Doggy, Teddy and Froggy are beloved by their owners. They go where their owners go, are well cared for, and in some cases are basically a member of the family.

I couldn’t help but smile as I read these stories. I, too, had a stuffed bear named, yes, Teddy. He was made of dark brown fabric and he had a yellow tummy, a piece of red felt for his tongue, and a random button sewn on for an eye — a repair my mother must have made while on staff at the animal hospital.

I had many stuffies, but Teddy was the original go-to for comfort. No matter what changed in my life, he was there.

Psychologists have a term for stuffed animals — transitional objects. The object doesn’t have to be a stuffed animal; it can be anything — a blanket, a piece of clothing, a doll. The child chooses it, assigns special value to it and it comforts and soothes child as they separate from their mother. Later in life, it becomes a keepsake that brings an older child back to a comforting, familiar place. These transitional objects play an important role in a child’s emotional development.

Doggy, Teddy and Froggy are more than toys; they ground children and give them a sense of connection and safety as they grow.

If your child is still insisting you make a space at the dinner table for their friend and put their friend in the shopping cart at the store and cry like hell when their friend is accidentally left behind, remember that it’s all part of healthy development.  

More Letters from Editor Melanie Hitchcock

Show some love to your community

In addition to spending time with your sweetheart, why not show your community some love by volunteering or donating to an organization that’s making life better for children and families?

What's next?

When the whirlwind winds down to a dull roar, you realize what’s next is working to make the publication even better.

Lessons learned through a Christmas tree (or how I learned to embrace disorder and chaos)

For as long as I can remember I have compulsively applied order to everything, so I did not understand the hodgepodge of holiday decor and why everything couldn’t look like it went together.

What we need to teach our sons

If there is something good that comes out of recent events, it’s that men and women are talking more about sexual assault.

Put a different spin on Halloween

Just a quick flip though this month’s issue and you can tell that I think Halloween is a pretty big deal.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

E-Newsletter Signup

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular Articles

  1. CSAs in New Hampshire
    Love the idea of local produce and goods? Here's why you should join a CSA and here's a list of...
  2. Inexpensive things to do during February school vacation
    Fill winter's last school vacation week with free and budget-friendly fun
  3. Top 10 events happening in February
    Our favorite events happening in New Hampshire this February, including: Merrimack's Winter...
  4. Which local museums to explore this winter
    Escape the cold and get cultured at these kid-friendly New England museums
  5. Throw a Super Bowl party your neighbors will be talking about
    Whether the Patriots are in it or not, it is one of the biggest party days of the year
Edit ModuleShow Tags