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Becoming Attached

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First relationships have lifelong importance. Find out how parents and caregivers can support infant attachment and repair attachment in older kids.

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Becoming Attached

  1. 1. Becoming Attached<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  2. 2. What is attachment?<br />Attachment refers to a baby’s first relationship with another person. This relationship sets the stage for all the relationships that follow, and it influences how a person sees himself as someone of value.<br />In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to even think about attachment.<br />In a perfect world, attachment would happen naturally, without interference.<br />But we don’t live in a perfect world.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  3. 3. How does attachment develop?<br />Attachment develops subtly, almost casually, through the gradual accumulation of comforting and nurturing experiences.<br />Attachment, and its counterpart attunement, are more attitudes than skills. <br />Instead of telling parents what steps to follow to create attachment in a child, it makes more sense to speak of what to believe.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  4. 4. Why is attachment important?<br />The child who developed secure attachment as a baby and toddler has a secure sense of her self-worth. She feels self-confident and she believes that the world is a positive place. Doors are opened for the securely attached child.<br />And attachment is lifelong. The sense of well-being of secure infant attachment lasts forever and positively influences social interactions and interpersonal relationships throughout life.<br />Secure attachment is the right of every child.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  5. 5. Why attachment might not develop<br />Instead of secure attachment, a child might develop insecure attachment. Why might this be?<br />Infants are dependent upon adults for their survival. And they are keenly aware of adult inattention to babies’ cues. Infants and toddlers are self-centered, for good reason. It’s important to the development of secure attachment that adults agree their babies are the center of the universe.<br />To the extent that key adults in a baby’s life do not believe the child is the center of the universe, secure attachment is at risk.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  6. 6. What we know fromprimate studies<br />Studies of infant monkeys determined that warmth and care are more valued even than food to a baby primate. <br />Monkey babies who were given food from a dispenser built of wire but no access to a lovable mother became withdrawn and appeared emotionally disturbed.<br />Monkey babies who were given food from the same wire dispenser but also could hug and interact with a cloth-covered wire “mother” not only grew up emotionally healthy but grew up to lead normal monkey lives.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  7. 7. What we know from institutionalized children<br />Once it was standard procedure to house orphaned and abandoned babies in institutions that provided custodial care but no mothering. It was thought best to wait for adoption until after children were old enough to exhibit personalities attractive to adopting couples.<br />Children raised this way had lifelong difficulties forming relationships. <br />Recent adoptions from Romania and other countries have incurred the same problems. There is growing evidence that there is no safe age at which to separate an infant from his biological mother.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  8. 8. Failure to Thrive<br />Some children fail to grow despite sufficient nutrition, sleep, and other forms of custodial care. Children with “Failure to Thrive” syndrome may even die, although no biological cause is apparent.<br />Insecure attachment is often the cause. Failure to establish a sense of self-worth through nurturing relationships early in life can lead to a dwindling away of the will to live.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  9. 9. Hospitalism<br />Prior to the 1970s, parents of hospitalized children were advised to stay away. It was thought that doctors could do their work better if they did not have to deal with parents, and that children would not care.<br />However, a close look at hospitalized children by Dr. Rene Spitz showed depression, regression, and despair among children being treated for ailments like pneumonia that required a days-long stay but were not otherwise emotionally taxing.<br />Spitz revolutionized hospital practice for young children by exposing their susceptibility to “hospitalism.”<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  10. 10. Forms of attachment<br />Attachment develops in two main ways:<br /> Secure attachment, and<br /> Insecure attachment.<br />Let’s look at secure attachment first.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  11. 11. What secure attachmentlooks like<br />The securely attached toddler seems confident. <br />He can give affection freely and enjoys being cuddled.<br />He can accept the attention of people outside the family, though often with some reservations.<br />He is glad to see his parents after a separation and may cry when he sees them. But he allows himself to be comforted.<br />As he grows older, he is able to go to school without worrying about his parents at home, he can make friends and get along with others.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  12. 12. Insecure attachment<br />Insecure attachment appears in three forms:<br />Ambivalent attachment<br /> The child both rejects and clings to his parent.<br />Avoidant attachment<br /> The child rejects or ignores his parent<br />Disorganized attachment<br /> The child is self-destructive and emotionally disturbed<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  13. 13. The link betweenattachment and attunement<br />Children become securely attached because from infancy their parents were attuned to them and their needs.<br />Attunement is selfless attention to the signals, cues, needs, and wishes of the child. There is no agenda in attuned interaction.<br />The perfectly attuned parent is loving, responsive, calm, intuitive, and wholly consumed by the desires of the child, but at the same time is responsible and protective, even from the child’s own impulses.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  14. 14. Attachment isa two-way street<br />It is easier to be attuned to some babies than to others.<br />Temperamentally easy babies make attunement simple.<br />Difficult and slow-to-warm-up babies require more finesse.<br />Attuned parents pay attention to infants’ cues and avoid overwhelming a baby with unwanted interaction. Attunement does not mean 24/7 attentiveness. It does mean attentiveness to the degree it is welcome.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  15. 15. Multiple attachments<br />Babies can become attached to multiple individuals and can be differently attached to each.<br />So a baby who is attached to a caregiver or father is not unattached to her mother.<br />Most children have a primary attachment, however, and it is this primary attachment that is most important for successful relationships in life.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  16. 16. Key periods in attachment<br />The first two years of life are critical for attachment.<br />Within the two-year span, the first six months are of prime importance and the period from about fifteen months to 22 months.<br />Parents should do what they can to avoid separation from their very young infants even for more than 12 hours.<br />Parents should avoid separation from toddlers for more than one day.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  17. 17. Attachment and adoption<br />Adoption is a good thing. If you are considering adoption, do not let worries about attachment scare you away.<br />But, research indicates that separation from one’s biological mother is disruptive at any age. Early adoption – within the first days or weeks of life – is certainly better than adoption later. But all separation puts attachment at risk.<br />The take-home message for adoptive parents is that they must be extra attentive to attunement and consciously build their relationship with their child. <br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  18. 18. Attachment and trauma<br />Children who have endured trauma and abuse or who have witnessed extreme violence are at risk for insecure attachment.<br />Traumatized children are vulnerable to disorganized attachment and emotional disturbance. They may have life-long difficulty in forming relationships and may be inclined toward cruelty and sociopathological behavior.<br />Resilience counteracts trauma. Resilient children can develop normally despite a traumatic history.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  19. 19. Rebuilding attachment<br />Secure attachment can be rebuilt through consistent, attentive parenting, unconditional positive regard and an emotionally safe environment.<br />Support for children who appear to be rejecting (rather than punishing or shaming children who reject) is important.<br />Levels of trust can be reestablished but the process is long and difficult. <br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  20. 20. Unconditional positive regard<br />Psychologist Carl Rogers coined the term “unconditional positive regard” to describe an interaction style that is uniquely capable of building and rebuilding a person’s self-esteem.<br />“Positive regard” is not love, necessarily but is an attitude of support and valuing that is necessary to developing a sense of self-worth.<br />“Unconditional” means that this positive regard isn’t bought, by good behavior or by matching expectations. Unconditional means positive regard is a human right and cannot be taken away.<br />The combination of unconditional positive regard is an essential attitude in parents’ attunement with a child.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  21. 21. Invitational teaching<br />Unconditional positive regard is important in school, too.<br />The invitational schools movement begun by W.W. Purkey suggests that teachers, administrators and other school staff adopt an attitude of unconditional positive regard for students . Purkey and his followers believe that doing so increases children’s self-confidence and learning.<br />Teachers and caregivers can use the principles of attunement, by creating places for children that invite their best selves and support them unconditionally.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  22. 22. What you believe is important<br />At the beginning, I said… “Instead of telling parents what steps to follow to create attachment in a child, it makes more sense to speak of what to believe.”<br />Parents must believe that their child is a worthy human being, that she is a person separate from her parents, and that she is beautiful, wonderful, and worth every good thing – without ever doing anything at all to “earn” those good things.<br />At the same time, parents must help their child feel secure by keeping her safe, by giving her the best care they can, and by taking the time to guide her. <br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  23. 23. What you docommunicates your beliefs<br />Support secure attachment by:<br /> Talking with your child often<br /> Making eye contact with your child<br /> Listening to your child when he talks<br />Respecting his point-of-view<br /> Letting him know you think he is capable<br /> Letting him know you’re there to help<br />Making it clear your child’s safety and happiness are important to you<br />Understanding that your child is not you and his life is not your life.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  24. 24. It’s never too late<br />Attachment forms the foundation for adult relationships and is of singular importance.<br />If secure attachment wasn’t achieved in childhood, parents and individuals themselves can work to establish trust and mutual care.<br />It is never too late to repair damaged attachment.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  25. 25. Key ideas to remember<br />The first two years of life are critically important for the establishment of attachment and for the ability to engage in meaningful relationships throughout life.<br />Parents establish attachment through selfless attunement to their baby or toddler. <br />As children grow, parents continue to support attachment through unconditional positive regard.<br />Secure attachment can be reestablished later in life through diligent effort.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  26. 26. Need more help?<br />I am here for you. <br />Submit your questions on this website’s community forum and put “Attachment” in the subject line. I’ll get back to you!<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />
  27. 27. And remember…<br />Every good thingthat happens between us,happens first at home.<br />©2010 Patricia Nan Anderson The Parent Vibe Becoming Attached<br />PatriciaNanAnderson.com Parent Development Series <br />

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