Cultivating a Secure Attachment with Kids

Welcome to episode 141 of Voices of Your Village! At the basis of development is attachment, and there are four types of attachment that we are going to dive into today. There is a goal here: when we are looking at attachment, the goal is Secure Attachment.

 

All of our work here at Seed focuses on how to foster and build a secure attachment with kiddos. Today I am hanging out with Sam Casey, she is a licensed clinical social worker from Australia, a play therapist, and a momma. We dove into what secure attachment looks like and how exactly we foster an attachment where kids don’t feel responsible for our feelings and how we respond to them with intention. This will set the basis for all of their relationships to come. 

 

“One of the most important things we can do with kiddos is work to foster a secure attachment.”

 

In this episode we reference our free emotion coaching guide. If you want to snag that, head on over to emotioncoachingguide.com and snag yours today. We’ve got your back on this journey! There are so many tangible tips and pieces of support throughout this episode. It is fire! And it has been so hard not to release it as soon as we recorded it, months ago. I am so jazzed for y’all to dive into this bad boy today. Let’s get started!

 

“It’s very healthy for us to show our children that we are humans too and we experience all the emotions that they do, but sharing that you feel emotions versus making your children be responsible for our emotions, whether directly or indirectly, are very different things.”

 

Sam Casey and I wasted no time diving right into the world of attachment theory: what it means, how it shows up, and what the role of the adult is in rewriting patterns for our kiddos that we didn’t have. 

 

Sam started by talking about attachment in general. “Attachment really is an internal working model of how relationships function. The way that we have been raised and the relationships we have with our parents impact the relationships we have with our spouses and children,” Sam said. “Whether we are aware of them or not, they influence the way that we present ourselves and the way we function in relationships.”

 

“Research shows that a predictor of our attachment style with our child is the attachment style we had with our parents.”

 

We are not doomed based on these patterns. It is really about having an insight and understanding of our patterns, so we can make sense of them and processing them instead of blocking them out. So much of reparenting is about being able to build awareness around what we are bringing to adulthood, because it is a practice that we don’t do as kids.

 

When we get to adulthood so many of us don’t have a toolbox for how to do this work, and that makes this a potentially uncomfortable process. Even if we believe our parents “did the best they could” it still had the potential to impact us in a negative way. So, this process is not about blame but instead is about doing the work to create new patterns for our children.

 

“It is hard to have a secure attachment with a child if you weren’t seen or heard as a child yourself.”

 

Sam and I chatted a bit about the different attachment styles. The first one is Secure Attachment, which is what we are aimed for. Secure Attachment is about the 4 S’s, feeling Safe, Soothed, Seen, and Secure. When children feel like their parents are a secure base for them to return to, they become secure in this attachment while maintaining their own sense of self.

 

The second one is Anxious Attachment, which is when a parent is there sometimes and absent other times. Here, the parent is unintentionally looking to the child to meet their needs instead of meeting the child’s needs. What happens here is that the child can be clingy or anxious because they are being emotionally drained when a parent is present physically but not emotionally.

 

“When you are living in the future and living in fear you are not able to actually be with your child.”

 

The third attachment style is The Avoidant. This is when parents meet a child’s basic needs but are unable to meet their emotional needs. When a parent can't fulfill their child’s emotional needs, the child learns that the best way to have their needs met is to not have any. It becomes a false sense of independence, but then the child grows up and struggles to be vulnerable because when they were vulnerable as a child they were dismissed. 

 

The fourth attachment style is Disorganized. This is when a parent’s response can be frightening to the child. In one moment a parent can respond with laughter to a child’s behavior and in the next that same behavior can be met with anger. There are no levels of consistency with a Disorganized Attachment so as children grow up they may have avoidant and anxious behaviors at times.

 

Throughout this episode Sam and I chatted about tangible tips to help us move toward a Secure Attachment with our kiddos. This episode is filled to the brim with useful information and I am so thankful that Sam Casey came on to do this deep dive with me, thanks Sam! For more of Sam, you can find her on Instagram @SamCaseyChildTherapist and as always, when you finish this episode I would love to hear from you over @Seed.and.Sew !

 

Until next time,

Xoxo

 

Alyssa 

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