Unless you’re a parent, you may be wondering what this has to do with you and your adult relationships. Quite a lot, if you understand the impact of healthy and unhealthy parent-child attachments on the child.
By “attachment,” I’m referring to the emotional bond between two people. “Attachment style” refers to a person’s individual patterns in emotional bonding to another person.
The attachment bond you had with your primary caregiver – most likely your mother – is your model for how a relationship should work for the rest of your life.
There’s a lot of talk in the news media about Attachment Parenting lately, especially with celebrity-turned-PhD Mayim Bialik’s new book, Beyond the Sling, in which she describes her brand of parenting, which does include Attachment Parenting (AP). And there are a lot of questions being asked. I’ve been fielding both concern and applause for the various conversations swirling around Mayim and AP. I wanted to give a little clarification.
First of all, what is Attachment Parenting exactly? Technically, it’s a research-backed approach to parenting that promotes securely attached kids. What’s that mean? “Attachment” is a term to describe the emotional bond between two people. A person with a secure attachment style is able to establish and maintain a healthy emotional bond with other people. A kid who is securely attached to his parent is a kid who shares a healthy emotional bond with his parent – with all the give and take of any emotionally healthy relationship. People with secure attachment styles are less affected by stress and generally happier in relationships than those with insecure attachment styles.
Research shows that parents who raise children with secure attachment in mind do two things: They provide consistent and loving care, and they respond with sensitivity. This can look different for different people. For parents who are living the natural lifestyle, this may take the form of breastfeeding and baby-led weaning, babywearing, cosleeping, and stay-at-home parenting. Of course, there are plenty of parents who do these parenting techniques who are not necessarily living a natural lifestyle, but there are also plenty of parents who bottle-feed and crib-sleep and work outside the home who are still raising their children with attachment-promoting strategies.
If you are passionate about parent-child attachment or adult attachment — perhaps you’re an author, a fellow blogger, a parent educator or child psychologist, a parent, or anyone interested in sharing an experience, suggesting a resource, offering a webinar or teleseminar, and so on — I welcome your contributions.
I am seeking guest blog posts from experts as well as parents. Word count should be no more than 500 words per post; high-quality articles that are longer can be broken up into a series. Posts should be informational, not promoting a certain program or book. Post submissions should be accompanied by a bio and photo of the author, with any link backs included in a “for more information” blurb.
Books, DVDs, websites, online or home-study courses, and so forth can be submitted for review and consideration to be featured.
Authors, experts, and others who have something interesting to share in the discussion of attachment can request a question-and-answer interview form via e-mail.
Events — both online such as webinars and teleseminars, as well as community-based such as conferences and parent support group meetings — can be submitted for inclusion. It is appreciated if you contact me at least one month in advance of the pre-registration date (event date if no pre-registrations are necessary). This gives me enough time to promote your event.
Attachment styles form the basis for a psychology theory about how people interact with others in their life, and the world around them. While it can be traced back all the way to some of Freud’s writings, it was John Bowlby who devoted significant effort and research into expanding upon and demonstrating attachment theory.
“Attachment” refers to the emotional relationships we share with others in exchange for the things we most need out of life — comfort, care, and pleasure. Our attachment style is primarily formed in early childhood, according to this theory. Bowlby identified four characteristics of attachment:
Some people believe that attachment styles can explain a lot about how we interact with the world around us as adults. Many people are searching for the “why’s” of how we relate to others — attachment theory offers one set of answers that can help a person better understand themselves.
Parents can learn to help their children learn and understand secure attachment styles — ones that will make them more independent, resilient and happier in their lives. And that’s what this blog, Attachment Matters is all about. Written by Rita Brhel, who is a writer/editor, and works for Attachment Parenting International, www.attachmentparenting.org. You can learn more about Rita here. (Previously, Rita blogged for us over at A Moody Marriage.)
Please give Rita a warm Psych Central welcome!