Forming ‘attachments’ is a basic human biological instinct that enables us to create lasting psychological connectedness with ourselves, and other human beings. The ability for a child to connect with themselves, each other, and their environment is affected by the way they develop their attachments. This, in turn, affects their social, emotional, spiritual and cognitive development, and will continue to impact the form of attachments that they develop as they move through adolescence and into adulthood.
There is an evolutionary benefit for attachment that ensures a child’s survival. Attachments motivate children to stay close to their parents, which allows the parent to provide protection, security and care. When a child is stressed, they look to their primary caregiver to help them feel safe and organise their feelings.
How we communicate with a child during these stressful moments shapes their attachment style.
Before we start with our tips to ensure your child develops healthy attachments – it’s important you understand that no parent is perfect.
In fact, there is no ‘perfect’, and no parent can be attuned to their child 100% of the time. At most, we are attuned to our children about 30% of the time – however as a parent, we have a choice
about how we want to parent.
5 Tips to ensure your child develops healthy attachments.
1. Recognise that it’s the care-givers responsibility to repair a rupture with a child.
When arguments and upsets occur between a parent and child it’s how the parent ‘repairs the rupture’ that will impact the way that child develops.
So how do you repair a rupture?
a) Notice your own emotion and behaviour, and step outside of it.
b) Tune into the child’s experience and emotion.
c) Find a way to communicate with your child that supports the development of your relationship.
2. Be Dependable - Your child needs to see you as a safe place.
Provide comfort whenever he or she is sick, hurt, or upset. Be physically available as often as possible. When your child feels safe, they can explore the world on their own, knowing they can return to you for security and comfort when they need it. Encourage your child to try new things