We all want to be the best parents that we can be, but sometimes we need a bit of help. This is particularly so if our own childhood was difficult.
The good news is that it is possible to change the narrative, and we don’t have to repeat the mistakes from the past.
Parenting is tricky at the best of times, but even more so with the challenges being faced by parents in the twenty-first century.
Attachment describes a child’s relationship with parents/carer, and is a crucial part of their early development. A securely attached child easily turns to their parents for comfort and support. They see their carers as providing a secure base from which to explore their world. They also know their parents offer a safe haven to return to when feeling troubled.
Not all of us grew up with a secure attachment to our parents. For some people, childhood wasn’t easy. Perhaps you felt you lacked support, or were rejected by one or both parents. There is no blame, your parents did the best they could. The good news is that these insecure patterns of attachment don’t have to be repeated with your own children.
Creating security in attachment in your child’s early years will pay dividends throughout life. Your child will grow up knowing they can be accepted for who they are. This provides a strong foundation for successful adult relationships.
As a result, your child should to do better in school. They will learn improved emotional regulation, social and communication skills. In adulthood, they are likely to be more flexible and able to adapt to challenging situations.
Creating a Secure Attachment
We are social beings, and our brains are organised to be in relationship. Your child’s early patterns of attachment begin with loving eye contact. From here, they learn to attune to your voice, subconsciously recognising patterns of sounds, facial expressions, and your body’s movements.
When we can be present with our children in their struggles, they learn to feel safe and secure.
Circle of Security Parenting Classes
Behaviours are a means of communication. Techniques of managing behaviours, such as punishments and rewards, will never address your child’s underlying needs. Your children are more likely to learn how to regulate their emotional outbursts when you are able to “be with” them in their frustration.
The Circle of Security Parenting program offers a model for relationship-based parenting. Of course, we all struggle at times, and none of us will ever be perfect parents. Learning to reflect on what your child’s behaviours might be telling you can help to create a secure pattern of attachment.
Parent Attachment Patterns
Our children’s needs may touch on our own childhood emotional wounding. When you are feeling stressed, and are able to recognise your own reactions to your child’s behaviours, it’s OK to take some breathing space for yourself.
Time out like this helps us to see things more clearly. It is easier to recognise the needs of others when you can regulate your own stress responses first. Then you can be more available to help your children to organise their feelings.
Some of us may feel uncomfortable or threatened in close relationships. Maybe you “hover” anxiously, fearful of letting your child out of your sight. This is often the result of your own childhood attachment patterns.
Working with a counsellor can help you to address unconscious patterns from the past that may be affecting current relationships. Your therapist will not judge you, analyse your past, or tell you what to do. The aim is to increase awareness, and help you to “change the tape”, and create a new narrative.