Q: My 4-year-old has a blanket that he carries around with him nearly all the time. It looks horrible, actually, like a stained rag. I’d like him to give it up, but all of our attempts to get him to stop have failed. He actually panics if he can’t find it when he wants it. Should we be concerned?
A: No. Definitely not. Security blankets and other things of that sort are called “transitional objects,” meaning they help children through life transitions, like the transition from being a dependent infant/toddler to being an increasingly independent child. They simply provide needed comfort.
Why some kids seem to need them and other kids don’t is anyone’s best guess, but as with thumb-sucking, they are not a sign of underlying psychological problems (but trying to force a child to give up a security blanket may cause psychological problems).
Eventually, as is the case with your son’s security blanket, they fall apart. Just let time take its course. In the meantime, enjoy your son’s innocence. Take it from me, it is fleeting, especially in these days and times.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at rosemond.com.