Transitional Objects

Written by Kathi Stringer


Usually in the first 5 to 18 months of age, the child may grow attached to a primary transitional object. Supplied and offered by mother, the object could be a blanket, diaper, teddy bear, bottle or other such similar article. The attachment is direct and not passive. The child’s feelings for mother or primary caretaker spill over into the object which is used for self soothing and to reduce anxiety. Transitional objects acts as a substitutes, and bridge the representation of mother. For example - A child my curl up in mother’s rocking chair when mother is not in the room for self comfort. This also an indication of a growing awareness that the child is separate from external objects and is an individual.

Blissful State

It is interesting that in tribal villages, the need for transitional objects are absent. This is because mother is always available to the toddlers. In western culture where the child sleeps in a different room, the transitional object helps ease the stress of separation. These objects provide security as they try to recapture the oneness of mother. At times a child my rock while holding the article projecting themselves into the blissful state of being held in mothers arms.