4 ways that you can build a secure attachment with your child
All 3 of the insecure attachment styles happen because of the parent’s issues, not the child. We have to be willing to recognize our experience, and be honest with the way it is affecting our life. A lot of time it is difficult to even recognize how our experiences are playing out. That’s why we created this questionnaire to help you find out if your own attachment injury could be affecting how you are engaging with your child.
Sometimes, we can be securely attached to our own parent, but we suffered from trauma (and per the Center for Disease Control) they report that 70% of middle class, college educated people- have at least 1 significant trauma that requires treatment to live fully. I think it is safe to say that we all have our own traumas, and a lot of us try to push it down, ignore it, and refuse to see how it is playing out in our lives.
Working in this field, I can safely and without a doubt say, EVERYTHING YOU DO stems from your trauma. That means the words you say, the things you tell yourself, your vision of yourself, your vision of others, the things you do, the things you like- everything has to do with your history and experiences. Even more so when it comes to parenting. Nothing will throw you back to your childhood, like your own children being defiant, throwing a tantrum, even playing.
If we have our own difficulties, trauma, and history of depression, anxiety, etc. playing out- then we are unable to respond to our children on a consistent basis.
Take me, for example, I happen to have an anxious-ambivalent attachment style. It takes significant amounts of work on a therapy level, on a mindfulness level, and on a pray to God I make it through the day kind of level. I fear that my children will be hurt, that I will be hurt, and if I am a good enough parent on the daily. I believe my children are securely attached, but Lord, I work at it, catch myself, and remind myself of what is ACTUALLY healthy for them, and my thoughts that are based in insecure attachment and trauma (because I’ve got that too).
I could go on for days on this topic, and you’ll probably catch me talking or even at a speaking event talking about trauma and how it affects our lives.
Work on your anxiety
Do you see a theme starting? Children are born into our world with the instinct to explore and learn. We are the ones who have to learn to be the secure base. I know it is a lot of the same things that I have up in number 1… so why repeat it?
A lot of good ways to deal with anxiety (especially when parenting is involved) is through grounding and mindfulness. For me, I start my day with quiet, and end my day with quiet… and put some quiet in the middle of it too.
Kids stressing you out? Try GROUNDING! I’ve gone ahead and created a video about grounding, and some things you can do in the moment to help you gain back your control! Click to subscribe, and get our awesome grounding videos!
Let the children play
Play is going extinct for some reason. Probably because the more we are traumatized as adults, the more we put that on our children. Super unhealthy. What we need to be doing, is giving our children safe opportunities for play-
Going to the park
Playing in the backyard
Playing with the kids outside
Did any of those make you feel anxious???
I know that going to the park is particularly nerve wracking for me. I try to go when there isn’t a lot of activity. Because the unhealthy, traumatized part of me is scared to death that my children are going to be abducted. Does that line of thinking ring a bell? Am I connecting with you? Mhmm.
Being the awesome moms and parents we are, we probably override that fear once in a while and let the kids go play at the park. Now, once we are at the park- we all split into 2 categories: total override, and helicoptering.
Those of us that go into the total override mode- we may be found chatting up the other ladies while our children get all their pent up energy out. We sit reading a book, not looking up at them. We might hear them scream, and not really pay much attention. If no one is bleeding, right?
The other group of us- helicopters. We follow them around the park, and get especially close when (God forbid) another dad is around playing with their kids. I get it, caution. Unfortunately, because of our own upbringing, trauma, and attachment injuries- we aren’t creating the environment for secure attachment. We are letting our own shit get in the way.
So, be there for your kids. Bring your book. Look up from your book. Listen for your kids. Watch your kids. Watch for unsafe strangers. Watch for strangers. Talk to your kids about strangers.
If you can’t handle the park and the anxiety- don’t do the park. Try organized sports, or engaging with other moms and making play dates. Again, you can see how this all really stems back to us, and the things we as parents need to do to handle our own anxiety, and create situations where we also are allowed to not be so anxious.
Work on the bond with your children
Play with your kids. It doesn’t have to be crazy. Give them 15 minutes and do whatever they want with you, all your attention. No phone. No emails. No work. 100% undivided attention.
You think it’s easy, until you do it. For those of us with trauma histories, and especially difficult histories at home- play isn’t easy. Play is hard. If you find yourself in this boat- therapy is probably in the works. That doesn’t mean play is going to make the issue disappear, it just means, maybe with therapy- you can start to get through 15 minutes of play.
Sometimes, it’s also important to note that difficult situations- i.e. health complication post birth due to prematurity, infant illness, or even mother illness result in a traumatic birthing experience. This can be repaired; however, it is really important that the trauma and the possible damage to the attachment be assessed and worked through with a professional.
To find out more information about our group- you can check out www.paxtherapy.com