General Question

whimsycollective's avatar

Hugging a pillow or stuffed animal during childhood development through adulthood; does it potentially show the individuals personality or trait that might affect their livelihood day-to-day basis?

Asked by whimsycollective (4 points ) August 13th, 2009

Childhood development, most children grow out of the phase of having a caregiver or security substituted by a blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal. To my knowledge and observation, I’ve noticed this among teenagers, adolescences, and adults. Particularly, I’ve noticed this among girls and adult women. My concern is their personality and their surrounding might have nurtured such behavior or dependency for security since childhood. In addition, they either have stuffed animals or lots of pillows covers of animal figure. And, the individual seems child-like or soft in personality. Meaning their susceptible of being taken advantage or nurture unhealthy habits for living. Also, I’ve noticed from these individuals, the traits of anxiety and stress management issues.

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19 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I feel that as with all things in psychology, it must be taken with a grain of salt. Some people just like stuffed animals, think they’re cute, what have you, and some people just like more pillows purely for comfort. But in context to this question, yes, how a person sleeps speaks volumes about their personality.

bpeoples's avatar

I’m not really sure that’s true.

And this really sounds like a Psych 101 homework question =)

I know a surprising number of adults who do not have a “child like or soft personality” who have a stuffed animal they sleep with.

skfinkel's avatar

Having a beloved stuffed animal or blanket in childhood is not the same kind of attachment that you are talking about with older girls about their pillows or whatever. Little children have these supplementary blankets, and it is good for them—makes them feel secure. It will not harm them or make them “soft.” The strongest and most powerful men you know probably had such a transitional object. So, don’t take them away from a baby.

If you think a girl or woman has problems like anxiety or whatever, I can assure you that such traits are not as a result of having a soft beloved toy when they were young. There are lots of other reasons such traits may develop.

avvooooooo's avatar

A need for a sense of security is a pretty much universal human need. Its not a personality trait, its a basic need. We all search for a sense of security, continuity, things being right in the world, and how to be comfortable in situations where we’re not. It does affect some people more than others, but that has to do with how they deal with stress, if they’re a “planner” and worry about the future, and a lot of other things. You’re missing a few steps in your logic to connect having a security something (though I doubt that you’re seeing a lot of adults hauling teddy to work with them) to a deficient personality and upbringing.

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with stuffed animals and I’m not quite sure what you’re insinuating with that part of your question. There is such a thing as a decoration, especially in the bedroom, consisting of stuffed animals. I myself have, on the floor on the far side of the bed, a stuffed moose I was given forever ago. I don’t sleep with it, but if you bed is ever made it might make it up there along with the pillows I never use other than for making up the bed. Some people like animals, some people like to decorate with them. Others have a body pillow, or even two, in bed with them. Mine is because I sleep better with my hips aligned for some reason, not because I need it for security.

Again, you’re reading way too much into so very little and are missing a couple of logical steps.

This really does sound like homework.

Supacase's avatar

One of my former roommates sleeps with a blanket she has had since childhood. It is the one she cuddles on the couch with during a movie and she even takes it on vacations. She is one of the strongest, most level-headed people I have ever met and certainly not child-like or soft.

Gaignun87's avatar

I tend to think that hugging a blanket or a stuffed animal at any age beyond that of 13 is a little odd. I stopped sleeping with a blanket when I was 7 because it was something that I decided no boy should do at that age, kind of an odd decision for a 7 year old if I think about it.

As for pillows, if I have an extra one on my bed I sometimes fall asleep hanging on to it. I use it more as a prop for my head, than for any added sense of security though.

Do I feel like holding on to pillows while I sleep has affected my personality/daily life? Not at all. I’m currently a 23 year old Law School Student at Northwestern University, who held the accolades of President of my fraternity and habitat for humanity while I was in college. Therefore, stress management and anxiety are not really an issue for me. If they were I would have never been able to juggle all my collegiate engagements and maintain the GPA necessary to be accepted by Northwestern. Furthermore, I would never have been able to become president of my fraternity with a “soft” attitude. (I apologize if this looks like a brag sheet, I just wanted to prove my point)

OpryLeigh's avatar

I do have a particular stuffed animal that, although I don’t cuddle on a regular basis, I still cuddle from time to time to help me sleep if I am feeling down and alone. The funny thing about this is, if you asked any of my friends if they thought I still cuddled a stuffed toy, they would most probably say no. The fact that these people don’t think I am the type to cuddle a stuffed toy probably shows that I am not child like or “soft in personality”.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I am 49, I sleep with a zebra stuffed animal that was a gift from my wife, (his name is Ezra) and I am not some wussy, soft in the head, childlike crazy but I am a sensitive type of guy that is also a dyed in the wool skeptic. What one sleeps with is hardly a precursor to your dominant personality traits. Some of these psychology types need to get a real job and stop thinking a cigar is anything more than just a cigar, with apologies to Freud.

Anyone that thinks I’m weird or a little odd please form a double line over there——>

If I lived my life worrying what other people thought of my weird habits, I’d never have any fun. =)

whimsycollective's avatar

Thanks to lifehacker.com. I found fluther.com

Oh, I meant to ask and somewhat offer a description from my observation of child-life or soft personality, how would they relate to confident and independent personality? Kind of like saying how does one coach, condition, (or through behavioral modification therapy,) or nurture courage, confidence, and independence in human development is what I’m getting at.

Some examples, say, how do you do stand up to the bully in your own life, this might or may not relate to the question at hand. Or, swallow your pride and take action and own what’s yours. Or, if some guy steals your girl because whatever life is competitive because sex and power, I suppose this would garner up feelings to the strongest men to man handle a pillow or bitch at his pillow. But something to think about.

Furthermore, in my observation the males and females subject ages, include 3 – 35, and 40’s.

Here’s some insight of my thoughts and response. The draft question, is my own introspection of the interactions I’ve had recently; thinking how to reduce maladaptive behavior and promote confidence or a positive mood. It’s given everyone manages life differently; like saying there’s many ways to solve a give problem, not just one way.

Thinking about it, inferred immediate conclusions of behavioral patterns in the subjects in question. Till now, the conclusion is almost seems non-existent for various reasons. No offense, to the community whether cuddling or for security or age factor. It’s all good.

@avvooooooo I have homework to do. Personal preference, comfort, and decoration are a given—your right about that! Question of logical steps, hmmm… I might have missed a point, attachment perhaps. Insinuating???—how would such supplement improve an individual’s adaptability or survival in a competitive society with or without that dependence?

Heh, there’s a market for toys. I’ve worked with animators, these desk have a few toys and what not. There’s always play in that community.

@skfinkel transitional object, right! I failed to asked how it would relate to anxiety or stress and what not. I’ve witnessed a teenager crying because she and her bf broke up, he’s not confident to continue the relationship that was his reason.

Additional details, she had his hooded t-shirt over one of the pillows. I found that interesting that after the breakup the hooded t-shirt no long exist. Hmmm… I wonder if this had have onset some impact bias upon her as it might be her first (or second breakup). Then, for her to rebound for a suitable partner. In the mix, she’s not have a the best luck at dating because self-confidence I see.

I know for a fact the pillow offered her comfort and also muffle the sound of out loud crying. I feel for the kid, really, I do. I’d do some homework how to coach her about these things like a mentor. I thought draft the question and ask the collective.
—end

@evelyns_pet_zebra If I lived my life worrying what other people thought of my weird habits, I’d never have any fun. =) —Good point! Don’t worry about what others think. I agree with that.

@all Even though such topic didn’t cross boundaries with others that could offer a formidable answer to my curiosity. Of course, the usual search terms at the search engines won’t offer a different response. From my stand point I know it’s an emotional response for cuddle, for comfort, and for security, etc.

Ha Ah! Hang-ups in life, failure to take initiative or action, I’d threw that into mix of the question as a concern. Because, after some point, I found that the teenager could not let go of her breakup (I know it takes time to recover. Being around helped her change her mood a lot).

In the older age set, it dealt with hang-ups (which led to stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and/or frustration, as if they’re neurotic) in their life with decision making and taking initiatives to fight for the survival. I know their are psychopharmaceutical drugs like Xanax or Valium. With such question in my mind, attempting to reverse engineer the personality how they lead up to the point of relying on drugs.

Applying heuristics, “how-to” let go of your hang-ups? I found that when I attempted to advise them on letting go of hang-ups. Until later, they’ve realized through their own epiphany.

However, there still remained the question, how I do(?) or how-to(?) or the metaphorical facial expression of a yes/no, huh(?), or question mark face. I’ve on high alert about maladaptive behavior which would lead up to more issues.

I suppose the subject would seek some form of rehabilitation or life coaching. On the other hand, I noticed they would query the crowd source for answer by indirect questioning and observation. Chances of ill-informed individual in that crowd could lead them to a dark community or substance abuse, whatever, couldn’t help but think the worst case.

Still thinking of the direction of the topic in terms of behavior, ethology, and psychology.

Thank you alls, I yet to hear more responses.

bpeoples's avatar

@whimsycollective I think interesting would be to do an analysis of Meyers-Briggs personality types and whether the person sleeps with an animal.

For instance, two of the (three) people I know who definitely sleep with animals are both INTP’s, while the third is definitely an E, but not sure about the rest.

whimsycollective's avatar

@bpeoples Caught same wavelength as I was summarizing my response earlier. And, I thought about the MBTI too!

neokara's avatar

A stuffed animal or blanket doesn’t make a person soft.
I find my stuffed animals, blankets, and dolls from when I was a baby a comfort when I’m upset. My doll, two stuffed animals, and my baby blanket never goes off my bed. All four bring a sense of safety, love, and most of all comfort.

A heart makes the person, not a childhood item.

Pat_thebear89's avatar

I figure it this way that noone really grows out of there security phases. In childhood its a loved toy or clothing. In teens its a friend or loved object like a phone, key, necklace. And for some adults its the higher security, like alcohol, smoking, cars, women, man, money, anything that his seen to have a value and security significance. Its all boiled down to wat a person considers close to them and have great emotional value.

lbinva78's avatar

I believe that some of the previous responses have the cause and effect reversed. I don’t believe sleeping with a stuffed animal or pillow makes you a soft person who always needs to have some tangible source of comfort. I think it’s the other way around. I can attest to this because I have always had a pillow or stuffed animal for comfort and I am an adult- and yes, I did have issues with feelings of security as a child. So @whimsycollective, your question makes perfect sense to me.

Pat_thebear89's avatar

@lbinva78 well im not saying its bad or anything i actually agree with you, adults will even cling to childhood objects. It not bad at all. As long as it holds an emotional, mental, physical value anything can be like a security “blanket”.

kennedyjames007's avatar

Something I thought about today regarding autonomy.
“Autonomy can sometimes be like a very bad cold, with no chicken soup.”
Not sure what it means, or what it has to do with stuffed animals.

I’ve wondered about how much physical contact a child should have with their mother and father while growing up, and whether stuffed animals are some sort or surrogate. I think they represent security, but they are also something for a child to care for, so in a sense it can be a form of mimicry where they are learning to be like their loving parents, in order to become loving parents themselves. So I think stuffed animals can also be a good indication, of well developed empathy.

But I’m an engineer, and in a fit of rage I told my wife and daughter that my wife is unloving and my daughter has too many stuffed animals. I’m a complete idiot. I have to finish my thesis and I have to get a job and I have to try and fix this. I might start by buying them both a stuffed animal. Not sure either would accept it. They will live at her mother’s for a few weeks. Maybe I will have my thesis done by then and get some real help.

Anyhow, this psycology stuff is serious business. I’m 48. Everyone knows this by 48.
No easy answers though. Way more complicated than engineering, That is certain.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I believe that having something to hug when their is no one around to hug is the reason that these people have stuffed pillows/dolls etc
When they grow up , they obtain enough confidence and possibly a partner to take thse stuffed animals/pillows place.
They are starved for affection, what ever safe way of getting it.

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