One of my pet peeves is this particular phrase “she’s only doing it for comfort…” It is a phrase you hear frequently and often with a dismissing air, the subtext being that as it is only for comfort she should hurry up and stop doing it. Oh, how this phrase frustrates me! It frustrates me even more when the person saying it is a health professional. Why? Because it is normal and healthy for every person young or old to do things that give them emotional comfort. It is a normal part of emotional regulation and an important aspect of coping that is crucial for mental health. There are many things that I do every day for comfort, from the cup of tea that I drink first thing every morning, to the daily debrief with my husband in the evening. I know, from my own life, these little habits keep me sane. So, I value the comforting habits that my child has. I know that gradually, over time, her coping repertoire will grow. She’ll find new, more grown-up ways to find comfort and she’ll have more coping options. I’m doing what I can, as her parent, to encourage her to develop a rich coping repertoire. The richer her coping repertoire is the more resilient she’ll be as an adult because she’ll be more likely to have in her repertoire the best coping strategy for any particular situation. But along the way, I think that whatever she does, right now, to cope, matters. So she’s not only doing it for comfort. She’s doing it for comfort and her comfort is important. ]
Apply it to your life: What does your child do for comfort? Do you value it?