Bonding is a significant reciprocal attachment which both parties want and expect to continue and which is interrupted or terminated at increased peril to the parties involved.
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.