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

Who Is Your Child’s Anchor? - Child's Growth And Development - Needs

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 the 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, development, confidence, self-belief, thinking, personality, mind-set, values, perspectives and views 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 reasons being the increasing number of educated and working mothers and the evolution of technology.

If I had to highlight these differences, they would read as below:

In the past

Present

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 [Facebook, Twitter, etc.]/ Google? / Maids or Nannies / Grandparents
Social Anchor Mother / Father – Based on individual personality types Mother / Father / Friends / Social Media [Facebook, Twitter, etc.] / Maids or Nannies / Grandparents
Intellectual Anchor Father – in majority of the cases Mother / Father / Friends / Social Media / Google? / 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 is!

And I really don’t know how these anchors will evolve/change in the future. May be some time in the days to come, futuristic technology/robots will end up being the anchors for all kids?

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

Nischala Murthy Kaushik is mother and philosopher rolled into one (the philosophical streak emerged after she became a mother – essential for balance, she believes). She is an Engineer and Management Graduate (IIMB Alumni) by Education, IT / Innovation / Marketing Professional by Employment, Google / Blog / Twitter / Social Media Lover by Era, Writer by Passion, Dreamer by Compulsion,  Student of Life by Choice, Eternal Optimist by Necessity and Chief Happiness Officer of LIFE by Realization. She blogs @ Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions AND VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life . In addition, she is also as a guest blogger in several sites of global repute; and her blogs have been featured in several Best-Of lists and on the Directory of Top Indian blogs. She tweets @nimu9 and is also listed among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter.

  • Reema Sahay

    Nischala, you have echoed my own thoughts when I talk about ‘roots’ [my post here: http://www.parentous.com/2013/08/22/roots-and-wings-kids-emotional-needs-raising-independent-kids/%5D.
    I personally believe in few anchors, 1 or 2. My husband and I are my child’s anchors and he knows about it. I will reference a book called ‘Raising Boys’ by Steve Biddulph. It says till the age of 6 years, a mother is her son’s anchor. With her presence, unconditional love and support, she creates a strong emotional foundation on which the child’s future relationships are based [also with other women]. From 6 till 13 years, a father becomes an anchor for a son because he is the first male a child is exposed to. The child would typically emulate the father. It is important that a father provides enough time, support and guidance to his son. After 13 years of age [the turbulent teens] till adulthood, a child needs a third male finger outside of family, who can offer him proper guidance. I can go on and on about this at length, but to cut the long story short, a strong anchor will influence a child’s entire life.