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  • Ally Monarch

Parenting: Creating a Healthy Attachment

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Now that we have established that parenting is hard, let’s break down some aspects that can aid in increasing the enjoyment and ease that you can have in parenting! This week the focus will be on attachment. I believe that attachment is the core to creating an effective and enjoyable parenting experience. Attachment is how you connect with your child, and a healthy attachment is essential in order for the other aspects of parenting to move smoothly.

There are 4 different types of attachment styles in children, derived from John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory; secure attachment, ambivalent attachment, avoidant attachment, and disorganized attachment.

A secure attachment involves a child who is able to explore the world and other relationships, while also having a home base with their caregivers that they can return to. A child with this attachment style feels safe to engage with others because they know their caregiver will always be there.

An avoidant attachment involves a child who avoids interaction with their caregiver because they have learned to meet their needs on their own. They will leave and explore the world autonomously because they have learned that they cannot depend upon their caregiver to meet their needs.

An ambivalent attachment style involves a child who both avoids and desires closeness with their caregiver. They may leave to explore other relationships, but also want a caregiver to be close. This child often is anxious about what response they might receive from their caregiver because it can be different each time.

Lastly, a disorganized attachment looks like a child who has learned their caregivers can portray frightened or frightening behaviors when they try to explore the world and will in return freeze or be forced to rely on a caregiver that creates fear.

Whew!!! That is a lot of information. There is so much more to be said about attachment styles and how they affect children, but the main focus here is to create a healthy and secure attachment with our children. Let me also say that it is not too late!!! As caregivers, we can start to create new ways of interacting with our children and develop new techniques to engage with them without feeling emotionally distressed or checked-out. The first step to restructuring your engagement with your little one is through play, which can be done through an approach called PCIT or Parent Child-Interaction Therapy. It may sound simple or maybe even silly, but play is how your child unlocks and engages with the world. When you can learn how to enter that world with them, a whole new interaction can be experienced.

Next week I will delve more into the world of play and what that can look like for you and your little one at home!

Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or schedule your first PCIT session with me today using this link.

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