Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Neufeld’

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…)