Part Three of a Four Part Series
Making it easy for children to feel connected to us
Children naturally want to be good for those they are connected to. In making it easy for children to feel close to us, they orient around our orbit, cooperate with directions and ultimately can rest in feeling taken care of.
Development then unfolds spontaneously. For example, imitation is a strong force in the acquisition of language and speech with children wanting to be like us. We will explore the other ways growth unfolds through development shortly.
However if the primal emotions don’t move through expression and get stuck, development is arrested. Growth no longer unfolds naturally and playing, communicating, attending, learning and resting are all affected.
The force inviting attachment between our children and us is innate and ancient.
It is the same force that glued indigenous children with their elders, and that held them within the tribe. The same instinct that drives mammals to care for their young.
We know this relational energy and yet it is easy to lose our way through modern culture and societal norms, and the bouncing between or compensating against authoritarian and gentle parenting styles.
In the rush for our children to reach independence, we are losing that glue. We have far shorter periods to imprint our values and rituals, to lead and hold our children.
The instinct to provide care looks like the care we might give a newborn - unconditional delight, generous warmth, soft hearted and strongly led. What happens to this gorgeous invitation for our children to exist in our presence? What becomes of our lead?
The research among early years child development studies confirm that the child caregiver relationship as foundational for life long health across so many facets.
The developmental lens reminds us of our intrinsic wisdom around cultivating, safeguarding and extending the attachment between our offspring and us. Of how we can gently lead our children to rest in our care.
How development and connection unfold
How do children hold onto us when we are physically apart? This can be the ultimate question in navigating children’s bed time, school drop offs and further separations. The answer lies in how they attach to us.
We know that children’s ways of holding us close change as they grow. Babies and small children first attach through the senses - through being in sight of us, smell, taste and so on. In the second year of life sameness becomes important and this when the imitation of our walking, talking and more kick in. Infact we adults also naturally connect through establishing ‘samsies’ when meeting people for the first time.
In the third year of life belonging and loyalty become the root for children to hold onto caregivers and to their group, and ‘mine’ is the common refrain.
The roots of attachment move deeper each year from age four onwards, towards feeling significance, love and being known. Enabling these roots might require some intentionality around conveying significance, mattering and knowing, and yield a deep holding on, rest and safety in the relationship.
In identifying this spiral of unfolding we can support the deepening of children’s roots of connection with us and in so doing we are strengthening relationship now and priming future rich partnerships.
Thank you very much for your interest and I would be delighted to further support you and your child or children. I am trained in Developmental Attachment Psychology from the Neufeld Institute, Coaching, Natural Food and Life Counselling and more and founder of Wholefood Harmony.
I work with parents and educators in a gentle, personalised way, to enable you to connect with the essence of your situation and move towards possibilities and potential. I also offer guidance around applying the child raising compass to you and your family or community. Please get in touch to arrange a free first conversation or read more about my Parent Coaching here.