Want to securely attach to your child?
There’s so much information out there about the best way to bond and attach to your baby. Some of it can make us feel like a load of poo, right? Because the truth is that- we are humans. The other truth, is that we are responsible to notice our crap, identify it, and resolve it so that future generations can stop suffering from our unwillingness to change our family patterns. It’s a big job! Let’s find out about what a secure attachment is, if you have one, and perhaps what you can do to create more securely attached relationships with your children.
What is a secure attachment?
A secure attachment is something that original researchers believe that most of us have. Unfortunately, the more we learn, the less likely this actually is true. But that’s a conversation for a whole different blog. Let’s start with the basics-
A researcher named Mary Ainsworth conducted an experiment called the Strange Situation. The children were brought into a room with their parent, and another person who was a stranger. The child spent varying amounts of time with mother and stranger, mother, and stranger in different episodes. The research looked at the differences of children, and compared their behaviors- which resulted in the following attachment style categories: Secure Attachment, Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment, Anxious-Avoidant Attachment, and the Disorganized Attachment.
The Secure Attachment style is the most desirable attachment style. The other 3 are considered insecure with the 2 anxious attachments being relatively survivable and relatively common. The disorganized attachment stems from being in an abusive home with a caregiver who has suffered, generally speaking, significant abuse.
The Secure Attachment in the experiment- looks something like the following interaction:
When the mother is present, despite the presence of the stranger, the child plays freely, and explores their environment freely and will often engage with the stranger present in the room. When the parent leaves the room, the child becomes visibly upset, and seeks comfort from the parent upon their return.
Within the Secure Attachment there are 4 sub-groups that attempt to describe and group individual differences in the securely attach. They are as follows:
We won’t get into the differences on the sub-types for the secure attachment since we don’t really mind which category our little ones fall into.
So, What does secure attachment look like?
Generally, it’s really easy to see. The child feels free, in the presence of the mother, to explore their surroundings. Sometimes, they will look back to check in with the mother, and return to exploration. They feel free to press on boundaries, and typically free to engage new people when they have the safety of their adult.
Find out HERE if you are securely attached! We created a quick 5 question survey to discover what your attachment style is!
Are You Securely Attached?
Wait, you thought this blog was about how to securely attach to your child…
We didn’t trick you, it is. Unfortunately, or Fortunately, it has a whole lot to do with your own attachment to your parents.
Let me ask you a few questions, and if you really want to take a look at your attachment style…you can subscribe to our e-mail list, and get the quiz to identify what your attachment style is, and start to find out more information on what it has to do with you, and steps that might be helpful. CHECK IT OUT HERE!
If you find you are not securely attached to a caregiver, it is extremely important that you seek treatment in order to identify, process, and begin to change the relational patterns for you and your child. Also, to find support in helping you create a secure attachment with your child- when you do not have a secure attachment with your caregivers/parents.
My guess is you are looking at this article because you want the best for your child. Every expert in the field will say the same thing. In order to have healthy children, we have to be healthy. We have to model the best version of ourselves.
So- here are some questions to ask yourself-
Do you feel unworthy in your relationship with your significant other?
When someone does something extraordinarily nice- do you believe you are deserving, OR do you find yourself saying any of the following:
“Oh, no, I just did it to be nice.”
“It was nothing”
“If it wasn’t for (insert name), I wouldn’t have been able to do it”
When someone starts talking about feelings, do you get uncomfortable?
Do people who are close to you say that you can be closed or unapproachable?
If you are in a risky situation, do you worry that YOU won’t be able to make it work?
Do you hesitate before applying for a promotion?
Do you struggle to see yourself as a leader?
Do you feel like what you do is not important?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may not be securely attached. What does that mean? It means you had a caregiver who was emotionally or physically unavailable. Perhaps they struggled with depression, anxiety, or their own history of trauma. You may have experienced abuse at the hands of the person you are attached to. You may have witnessed violence against the person you are attached to. You may have suffered emotional abuse by the person you are attached to.
As I wrote that, it felt very heavy. I know looking at your life, and being told that it has a direct link to how your own child may engage with the world- is very heavy. I want to let you know right here, and right now- you can make a decision to interrupt the patterns that have been at play in your family’s history.
Again, if you want more information on attachment- check out our questionnaire on attachment styles- and find out how your attachment style may be influencing and playing out in your current life: CLICK HERE FOR THE QUIZ! Knowledge is power! (Yes, we do ask for your email address, but we promise you will get cool information on parenting, and healing your own attachment injuries from myself, and other awesome experts!)Attachment segment.
Stay tuned for our next blog about things you can do to grow a secure attachment with your child… that doesn’t involve co-sleeping (but if you want to co-sleep, that’s cool too).