Pseudo-bonding

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Careless use of the word “bonding” has led to several myths. These myths are based on a confusion and blurring of the boundary between an attachment and a SIGNIFICANT attachment.

Myth: A “good bonder” can bond easily and repeatedly. Wrong. Clearly, this myth reflects a superficial attachment, and represents a misuse of the word.

Myth: Bonding is a skill which children can be taught. Wrong again. The mistake stems from a misunderstanding of bonding. Certainly, children can be taught social skills. Good salesmen and waitresses learn how to interact with customers. But such skill in no way suggests a significant connection that will cause serious pain and trauma when interrupted or broken.

Myth: Kinship is a blood tie and must come first, no matter when or with whom. This is too narrow a view of critical relationships. The marriage bond is one of several examples of a significant relationship which takes precedence over genetic links. By stating that genes always come before bonding, this myth negates the child’s significant attachment in favor of “kin-come-lately,” a relative who may emerge after other vital connections have been formed.