What attachment looks like over time

Therapist Julie Wright, MFT, discusses what secure attachment looks like over time, why it's important to be well attuned to your child's needs, and how this type of parenting can benefit a child's future and well-being.
Parenting Advice | What attachment looks like over time
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

What attachment looks like over time

Comment
0
Like
0
Transcription: 
So the thing that I often find missing from an understanding of attachment over time is how much it grows and changes. The hallmark of a securely attached child over time is a child who becomes more independent, more separate, starts to master new skills. Everything in life has its balanced side and parents are often taught about the attachment side, the proximity seeking side of attachment. The side that says, you know, respond to your baby, you know, be there for them. The side of attachment that is rarely discussed is the attunement to the times when they don't need you, when they're okay on their own, when they're happy on their own, or when they're struggling a little bit, but need you to let them stay frustrated and struggling a little bit. So once we understand that attachment changes over time, and that securely attached children look more independent over time, this helps us as parents to step back and be curious, and be attuned to our actual child in that moment. If your baby's lying looking out the window at the trees and googling, and waving their hands around, the attuned response is to do nothing and to leave them alone. One image that helps a lot with this is something called scaffolding. You know, when you're building a building and you've got scaffolding around it, so imagine as a parent that you are the scaffolding and your child is the building. Your child needs just enough scaffolding to support the building as it grows. As the building gets taller and stronger, you start to take the scaffolding down. So that's just a great image of how attachment shifts over time. The other concept these days is that of the helicopter parent that over parenting, the parent who in a very well meaning way is doing too much, is there too much, is not letting their child struggle, persist, grow, change, so these two images, the scaffolding and the helicopter parent really help you understand this idea that attachment does not mean making your child happy all the time or always meeting all their needs. It means attuning to them as they grow.

Therapist Julie Wright, MFT, discusses what secure attachment looks like over time, why it's important to be well attuned to your child's needs, and how this type of parenting can benefit a child's future and well-being.

Transcript

Expert Bio

More from Expert

Julie Wright, MFT

Psychotherapist & Author

Julie Wright, MFT is a marriage and family therapist with an extensive background in infant mental health and early childhood development.  She trained at Cedars Sinai Early Childhood Center and co-developed a program for parents and babies from 0-3 at LA Child Guidance Clinic. Julie specializes in mindful parenting, sleep issues and attachment theory.  She also works in private practice with infants, children, parents and adults.  Julie lives in Los Angeles with her son and often visits family on the east coast.

Julie has written the book, "The Happy Sleeper," Penguin 2014 with her colleague, Heather Turgeon, MFT. The Happy Sleeper gives the topic of baby sleep a fresh perspective. Their approach moves beyond old school ideas like “sleep training”—it’s grounded in research and shaped by new thinking. The Happy Sleeper gives you a clear, easy-to-follow system for transferring the role of independent sleep to your capable child, as they have done for thousands of families in their clinical practice.

More Parenting Videos from Julie Wright, MFT >