My munchkin is obsessed with shopping bags

By on September 11, 2013

Mommy question

Q.   My munchkin is obsessed with shopping bags. He scoots around the house with bags of all sizes.  I am curious as to why he adores them and is  happy having them close by even at bed time .  Last week, my sister came to visit with a bag containing ice cream cake.  My toddler grabbed it and won’t let me take the cake out to put in the freezer.  I am not sure what this means but I’m concerned that he plays with these objects way longer than he does with real toys.   Is this obsession for bags normal?
A.   Your toddler could be going through a transitional phase in his development typical to what most kids his age do.   The late British paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Woods Winnicott theorized this as a particular developmental sequence when the child begins to separate the “me” from the “not-me” following the stage of relative dependence to mother.  Infants see themselves and mother as one.  When the child comes to understand that the mother is separate from him, this realization brings frustration.  The bag in this case represents a  transitional object that he identifies as a “possession”.   It gives him a sense of comfort, security and a defense against anxiety.   In a research done by the University of Wisconsi-Milwaukee, having a security blanket available can help children in learning and adjusting to new situations and there is nothing abnormal about it. As the child grows older, his attachment to transitional or security objects will fade away.

About Rebecca Koppenhaver