Posts Tagged ‘attachment’

Presence & Attachment: ADHD Treatment?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

We tend to throw around the word “attachment” a lot when talking about kids and parenting, so let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing: attachment is a measure of the security of relationship between a child and those one or two or three adults with whom that child is in consistent contact. We now recognize that healthy (secure) attachment is a fundamental form of nourishment for a child’s growing brain. In particular, attachment fosters rich circuitry in the area of the brain that mediates social and emotional functioning. A parent’s ability to be present for a child is fundamental to fostering this brain circuitry needed to regulate attention — therefore, basic ADHD treatment. Mounting research suggests that the social brain is the basis for the child’s lifelong success — in school, at home, and out in the world! (more…)

The Trouble with Time-Out

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The Trouble with Time-OutSo there you are one afternoon, at the end of your rope with an out-of-control three-year-old. You know you won’t spank him, and you have become mindful of avoiding shame-based measures, so what’s left? Is “Time Out” the answer? At risk of bringing on the wrath of parents everywhere, my answer is no. Time-outs were conceived as a more humane alternative to spanking, but the problem is, they land a blow to the brain and psyche rather than to the bottom.

Right at the moment when the child is overwhelmed by a flood of emotions he cannot manage, and he most needs the regulating presence — that is, close physical presence — of his attachment figure, he’s banished to his room or his “Naughty Chair” or his “Thinking Rug” or his [fill in the blank with any of a list of prettied-up names people have devised for this particular form of exile]. (more…)

What Impairs Attachment, and Who Repairs Attachment?

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

What Impairs Attachment?

What Impairs Attachment, and Who Repairs Attachment?A big pet peeve of mine is the label “attachment disorder.” This is a diagnosis given to kids who have typically experienced severe disruption in the natural order of what should have been the effortless, instinctual connection we’re designed to make from the very beginning. They were prepared at the level of their brains, their hormones and their entire sensing organism to connect, to be skin-to-skin with oxytocin flowing and weaving the powerful bonding foundations for healthy attachment. They expected to connect.

Many children with the most severe cases of “attachment disorder” had this expectation crushed in the most primal way. Can you think of a time when you were totally, ecstatically primed for a connection and it for whatever reason did not happen? Or it happened and then went away without warning or explanation? I’m speaking here of a romantic situation. Remember the disappointment, the deflation of your entire being? Now take that feeling and multiply it by an order of magnitude of a thousand. Ten thousand. As if there was nothing to you but that deflation, that floor pulled out from beneath you. As if the floor pulled out from beneath you was you. (more…)

What IS Attachment and How Do You Get It?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

What IS Attachment?I write a lot about the central role of healthy attachment for child wellbeing. But what IS attachment and how do you get it?? It can be easy for someone like me who is steeped daily in the topic to take it for granted that people know what we mean when we say “attachment.” And as Gordon Neufeld points out in the video below (forgive the ads, it’s worth watching, but see my caveat below), attachment is not an intuitive word — in other words a word whose meaning is naturally and easily understood.

Author of an excellent book on attachment, Hold On to Your Kids, Neufeld points out that the word attachment was invented as a way to have a term to unify a science around. (The scientific study of attachment began in the 1950s with John Bowlby’s landmark work.) To further complicate our popular understanding of the concept, the term “attachment parenting” was copyrighted by William Sears. “So,” notes Neufeld, “now people know it as associated with a particular organization and particular strategies.” (Neufeld avoids using the term.) (more…)

Healthy Attachment is the First Best Anti-Bullying Program

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Healthy Attachment is the First Best Anti-Bullying ProgramHow perfect that October is Bullying Prevention Month and Attachment Parenting month — since healthy attachment is the first best anti-bullying program! Healthy attachment is the wellspring optimal brain development, especially the social brain circuitry that governs such anti-bullying capacities as self-regulation, empathy, trust, emotional and cognitive flexibility, and imagination.

As I’ve written about in a prior post about the origins of empathy, my opinion (in agreement with many others) is that even the very best school-based anti-bullying or conflict resolution program puts the change lever in the wrong place — that is, way too far down a child’s developmental timeline: (more…)

Silver Reflections on Motherhood ~ My Son is 25!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I was taken by the crucible called motherhood a quarter-century ago: my son Ian turns twenty-five today. The baby who was born smack on his auspicious due-date (seven-eleven!) arrived to find a mother in emotional disarray, to say the least. I have said it countless times, in keynote talks…classes for grad students…casual conversations…and even in my book: Motherhood brought me to my knees. Cracked me open. Excavated me. {read rest of post at mothering.com}

Inviting Fathers In: Attachment Begins in Pregnancy

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A mother’s attachment to her baby often begins long before birth. By the last trimester many mothers feel like they know their babies, having been enjoying for months their familiar, reassuring movements in the womb.

But what about fathers? What are their experiences during those wondrous nine months?  How does the attachment process begin for them? Is a father’s only option to look on with wonder (and sometimes envy) at the beautiful relationship forming between his once-doting partner and this tiny interloper? Is it the extent of his calling to act as back-rubber, chauffeur and coach? Do these “staff support” roles reflect the monumental potential influence fathers have in their family’s life? (more…)

Time Magazine: Not Mother-Friendly or Child-Friendly

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

A Postmortem on “That Cover”Time’s recent infamously iconic cover image plus headline “Are You Mom Enough?” (look again if you must) is tantamount to shouting fire in a crowded Chuck E. Cheese. One can almost picture the gleeful anticipation in the editorial offices: Wait for it… Mommy cat fight…! Honestly, what possible good could have come from that taunt? (more…)

The Roots of Conscience: Attachment, Pleasure, Then Empathy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

[Excerpted from Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, by Marcy Axness, PhD]

Connection and Conscience: The Foundations of Peace

Whenever a heinous, violent act is committed, there is talk of a lack of conscience in the perpetrator. The question of what builds a conscience has long engrossed philosophers, psychologists, and even Disney imagineers (who decided Pinocchio’s conscience looks a little like a cockroach, carries a watch fob and goes by the name of Jiminy Cricket). James Prescott’s massive, cross-cultural study of the root causes of violence, together with the body of bonding and attachment research, point clearly to the fact that (more…)

At the Heart of Humanity: Cultivating Empathy Through Attachment

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The subject of empathy — and whether it’s an endangered trait — has been on many people’s lips and pens in the wake of unspeakable events in the past several weeks, on US soil and US-occupied soil. As Steve Taylor wrote in Psychology Today,

To a large extent, all human brutality – all oppression, cruelty and most crime – is the result of a lack of empathy. It’s a lack of empathy which makes someone capable of attacking, (more…)