Feral children are children who have grown up with very little contact or none at all. They are also called wild children or wolf children. Some people speculate that these children were raised by animals, usually wolfs, or they some how survived on their own. Some children, this has happened all over the world, have been confined and denied normal social interaction with other people. Bonding with children is key in giving them the tools to function in society.
The importance of bonding with children is something parents need to be aware of. When a child is born they need loving and caring physical contact. If that need of contact is not met, children will start to disengage. Many people have probably heard of orphanages where children were forced to stay in cribs all day. These children often were/are very underdeveloped physically and mentally.
Children cry because they have not other means of communication. When children’s cries aren’t answered by a caring individual who tries to figure out what they need they eventually stop crying. Children need bonding time when they are being taken care of. A child should not be placed in a chair, swing, crib or any other device and left there for hours. Children need interaction in order to develop in a healthy manner and if their brains are not stimulated, then they do not make the necessary neurological connections.
Bonding and human contact is also very important in language development. If children at a young age are not exposed to a language they will lose there innate ability to learn a language. Children who have been neglected and ignored loose much more then people may realize. The early years of a child’s life sets the stage for the rest of their life.
Neglected, insulated, abused children also can suffer from growth retardation also know as psychosocial dwarfism. Overactive stress hormones depress the child’s growth hormones. If a child is returned to a healthy and loving environment, their growth will recover. Not all hope should be lost on children who have not had healthy bonding experiences. This is just one of the other reasons why loving caregivers who foster bonds with children are so important.
Trying to bond with children who have not had the experience with bonding in early childhood can be very difficult. Some children become aggressive as a defense mechanism or disengage. They have been conditioned to distrust adults so trying to obtain their trust may take awhile. Having boundaries and rules are important when trying to make a connection with a child because having those in place shows a child that you care. It is easy to let them get away with things because of the guilt factor, but it is not helpful.
Bonding with any child can be hard even if it is your own. Some mothers have a hard time bonding with their newborns, for whatever reason. This is not unnatural at all and is something that should be discussed. This is nothing to feel shame over either. Many women talk about having a sense of lose because they had such a close bond when the child was in uterus. When a child is born the bond might feel like it has been broken. If there are ever any problems with bonding, talk to professionals. Asking for help is nothing to ever be ashamed of.