A Definition of Bonding

Submitted by James Kenny, PhD on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 10:00

For courts and welfare departments to give bonding the attention it deserves, the concept must first be objectively defined and carefully explained. After an extensive review of the literature, we offer this definition:

Bonding is a significant reciprocal attachment which both parties want and expect to continue, and which is interrupted or terminated at considerable peril to the parties involved. Humans bond, not through therapy, but quite naturally, by sharing over time important events in daily life, such as eating, sleeping, and playing together. Bonding can be evaluated by documenting the 24/7 time spent together, the attachment behavior of the child, the reciprocal relationship itself, and the family identification as expressed by the community at large.

According to extensive research, interrupting such relationships correlates with a statistically significant increase in mental illness, crime and homelessness. Federal law states than the child’s right to permanence within a reasonable time is paramount. When placing or moving children, bonded relationships must be recognized as equal to or more important than kinship.