Attachment Parenting [The Couple & Family Therapist Podcast | 25.08.16]

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Attachment Parenting [The Couple & Family Therapist Podcast | 25.08.16]

SUMMARY:
– secure attachment is about listening to yourself & listening to your child [reflective, mindful parenting] – is rewarding & fun
– it is about meaningful connection
– it is about being attuned to the child & their needs
– it is relational
– secure attachment [Bowlby, Winnicott, Ainsworth] – paying attention to the child & being available when he/she needs connection, nourishment, assistance with problem & that when there is a rupture there is focus upon repair – for parenting:
– it means being available
– it means being very attuned
– & not having pre-conceived notions
– it is not “appeasement parenting”
– in western culture, we have the idea (intuitively) that it is not a good idea to spoil your child
– this is a good idea, with the caveat that the message should not be sent “too early” that the “world is tough” – the experts on the podcast contend that this is often the case -I.e. tHe message about being spoilt is sent too early (& not given to young infants etc.,)
– every child is unique & is a combination of nature & nurture, innate biological predisposition
– parenting therefore needs to be flexible
– attachment parenting proposes a philosophy & overarching framework
– attachment parenting, from the earliest days of the neonate, is learning to read & respond to their cues for attachment:
– it is not about how long to breastfeed the child [breastfeeding on cue/demand – breastfeeding is about more than nourishment, but also comfort, being close to the mother]
– it is not necessarily about sleeping in the bed with child for e.g. (Maybe for a period, but not forever)
– but is about serving the needs of the young child to reduce distress
– they internalise their parents & are able to soothe themselves
– very young children are allowed to sleep when they wish
– 1 to 3 year old children sleep – not through force, not through controlled-crying
– it involves physical touch/contact – humans are nourished & soothed by it
– being responsive to crying so as to minimise emotional distress
– dad’s are able to be closer to the children now.
– woman is not the slave of the child & the man – balance is the key – it is not neglecting anyone & it is not about spoiling the child (except when they are young)
[Note: not one size fits all approach][most parents do not need to be advised about this]
[still a need to focus on yourself & “put on your own oxygen mask first”, & then your relationship to your partner & then to the child – there is a need for balance][it is not a philosophy where everytHing must be done – parentS pick & choose based on what works]

Behaviours in tHe child such as Avoid, shut-down, clingy – insecure attachment

Reflective parenting:
– make a space for parents to listen to their internal instincts
– deeper conversation & relationship with their child
– Questions to ask yourself [older children]
– How are you making choices about attuning to your child?
– Where are you noticing opportunities for connection with your child?
– What are you noticing when they ask you to come in closer? In particular, behaviourally?

Infants learn “object constancy” – that is that mum will be there for them
– the goal is mother meets needs consistently
– then, when mother is not there, they can begin referencing inside – this is called self-regulation
– as the child gets older, they are able to go out into the world independently (as a result of this secure attachment) & deal with waiting, deal with having needs not being necessarily met, while being able to figure out how to take care of themselves in the process

– idea is for families to develop their own parenting approach within the attachment parenting paradigm, recognising cultural difficulties of busy-ness
– they note the pressure on parents to be perfect, that there is much judgment of parents in our society

Source: Antioch University, Seattle USA | dr Sears

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