God did not design us to live in isolation without connections to others. That is why it is important to help your child attain secure attachment in their development. Learning how to foster those attachments can create a sense of belonging in your child. It can also help them develop a positive mindset about themselves.

One of the most influential attachments children make is those with their parents. Attachment parenting is the term that is commonly used to describe the techniques used to form secure attachment in a child.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  –  Ephesians 6:4, ESV

What is secure attachment?

Secure attachment is considered a healthy form of attachment. This is the type of attachment that develops when a child feels safe and loved by their caregiver. When a child grows up with secure attachment, they tend to have a healthy level of self-esteem as well as a healthier lifestyle as an adult.

Secure attachment allows the child to be comfortable interacting with the world and people in it. They learn how to have healthy bonds in other relationships. Adults who grow up with parents who ensure secure attachment can create a peaceful and productive lifestyle. These adults understand how to express themselves to others.

Is secure attachment the same as love?

Love is an emotion that can be the driving force of how a parent creates a secure attachment with their child. The connection between love and secure attachment is important. It takes love to consistently provide the care needed for a child to thrive and grow. Even though a parent loves their child they may not understand the importance of secure attachment and therefore it may not develop as it should.

Encouraging a secure attachment with your child.

Secure attachment begins from birth. Through nurturing physical contact and talk you can begin to form an attachment that will help your baby feel safe. As your child grows the way you interact to promote secure attachment may change. Here are some of the common ways to encourage secure attachment with your child.

Be consistent and balanced in parenting.

This is referred to as authoritative parenting. The levels of strictness vs. permissiveness are equal. Children who are raised in this balance will understand that boundaries exist for safety. They accept that decisions are made to ensure the best for them.

Be intentional in the interaction with your child.

When you take time to be present in the interaction with your child this will let them know they matter. Spending undistracted time with your child will enforce the attachment.

Be predictable in routines.

Giving a child a routine gives them stability and reassurance. They know what they can expect in the home. When they have a sense of stability, they feel secure. Ensuring they are resting and eating properly will affect their overall health.

Be their place of comfort.

A child needs to know they can go to a caregiver for comfort when they are experiencing distress. Responding to their cries or other cues of distress will help the child learn how to create that calmness for themselves.

Be supportive.

A child needs the support of a parent as they grow and explore. It is important to let your child know that you support their abilities and that you are there if they need help. They will learn safe boundaries as they grow.

Be emotionally connected.

When a parent can notice the change in their child’s emotions they can react positively. This will help the child grow to understand how to react to and manage emotions.

What are the conditions of secure attachment?

Raising a child who develops a secure attachment is best achieved when the parent can meet the following conditions for their child.

The need to feel valued.

Even as adults we want to feel valued. It is no different for children. They want to know that they are valued for who they are, not what they become.

The need to feel safe.

Safety isn’t just a thought process outside the home. A child needs to know that they have a safe environment to grow and be free to learn. Safety for them is seeing someone they know will be there when they need them.

The need for comfort.

Most things about the world are frightening for a child. Parents must be able to comfort and calm a child when they are distressed or sad.

The need to be recognized.

This isn’t something that is normally done for attention. A healthy and secure child needs to know that they can communicate with their parents and be known. They need to know that the parents will recognize that they need help.

The need to be supported.

When a child is growing and experimenting, they need to have encouragement and support. They want to know that they can try and if they need help their parent will be there to help.

Are there obstacles to avoid?

Just as with anything else, some things need to be avoided when you are using an attachment parenting style. As you create a secure bond with your child you want to be aware of thoughts or actions that can hinder that bonding. It is important to be able to recognize why you are doing or not doing something to encourage secure attachment.

Fear about doing or not doing something is one of the top issues that parents need to learn to recognize. Parents want to be sure that they are doing the best for their child so they may have a fear of failing. Don’t fall prey to the thought process that if you don’t do all the things then your child will become insecure. It’s not a simple case of doing everything perfectly to create a secure child. What works for one child may not work for another.

Some suggest that attachment parenting is best done by the mother. This is not accurate. In the chaos of today’s world, it takes two parents to raise, teach, and provide for kids. Men can be a great asset in attachment parenting. This can create a deeper family bond for all members.

Don’t allow the focus to rest on the negative. All parents know that raising children is full of situations that require a parent to say no. That is how children learn some important things. If a parent doesn’t tell a child no to certain behaviors, then those behaviors become acceptable to the child. It is important to remember that even though it seems like parenting is a world of saying no, there are many ways to counter-act that with positivity.

What are the benefits of secure attachment?

As your child grows you will begin to see the results of forming a secure attachment with them. The effects of attachment parenting will be part of the child’s behavior throughout their life. It will help them manage relationships, work, and school. Here are a few of the bigger benefits of secure attachment parenting.

They learn to manage stress.

When a child is raised in a secure attachment atmosphere they will know how to keep stress from becoming damaging. They will develop the ability to release stress in a healthy way rather than keeping it bottled inside.

It promotes development.

Because secure attachment encourages the child in positive ways this leads to fewer behavioral problems. The child who has grown up with the thought process that learning is acceptable and encouraged will thrive in learning environments. An insecure child tends to have more problems connecting which may cause psychological and behavioral problems.

It teaches emotion regulation.

A child who has been raised with a secure attachment mindset will understand how to manage their emotions. This will help the child become able to fully focus on learning rather than fighting intense emotions.

Kids develop a sense of self.

The secure attachment parenting style will build a positive sense of self for the child. They realize that they are valuable which will increase the way they see themselves in relation to others. This will also lead to confidence and self-reliance.

Learn more about secure attachment.

Raising a child in today’s world is challenging. It takes more than just keeping them safe physically. If you would like more information about using secure attachment as a parenting style, feel free to connect with a local Christian counselor. They can help you develop an understanding and get you started helping your child form a secure attachment. The counselors in the directory are happy to help you. Connect with one today.

“Mother and Daughter”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Father and Children”, Courtesy of Juliane Liebermann, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Mother Cuddling with Son”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Life Emerges”, Courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com, Public Domain License