In determining how well your child trusts, accepts, and connects with the world, healthy attachment is the key.
Parenting is a big job.
From the beginning, you are well aware of each step in the process, each responsibility, and each milestone.
Even the way you look into your child’s face or interpret the things he isn’t telling you is important. More so, those non-verbal cues and your responses may be more important than the words that come later.
Do you wonder if your child has developed a healthy sense of emotional connectedness to his surroundings? Healthy Attachment (not to be confused with attachment parenting) lays the groundwork for social and emotional engagement, intellectual and educational interest, and physical development.
Attachment is emotional communication without words. It represents a relationship that is more than just bonding or feeling close to your child. Ideally, attachment becomes healthier and stronger the more your child experiences safe emotional connections. As your child’s needs were met before he could to convey his needs, wants, and emotions verbally, attachment developed over time.
No pressure, right? Not to worry, if you are wondering whether your child truly has developed a healthy attachment, it shows that you are already attuned to his needs.
Below, you’ll find there are some key indicators that may be helpful. Consider the following 7 signs of healthy attachment:
Connection to You/Primary Caregiver
1. Your child prefers your company to that of strangers. Your child seeks you out with eye contact, gestures, or physical relocation. While your child can spend time with other people without much anxiety, he looks to you for support, a good indicator that he will have the ability to seek out appropriate social support later in life.
2. Your child looks to you to be comforted. Your child trusts that you know and understand his needs intuitively. He is secure in the knowledge that you are available and willing to be there when a need arises or life becomes scary or uncomfortable.
3. Your child welcomes and engages you after an absence. The mood is positive and accepting when you and your child are reunited after a period of separation. Your child’s disposition is warm, relaxed. He or she greets you openly.
Healthy attachment results in healthy relationships.
Connection to Others
4. Your child gives, takes, and shares. The ability to complete these actions habitually, with little upset, are a key sign that social skills are well developed. Your child is generally not concerned or worried by the presence of other children. He is empathetic, and able to remain relatively balanced emotionally throughout social interactions.
5. Your child delays gratification. A child with a healthy attachment is also able to wait without becoming anxious, overwrought, or upset. He feels secure that a toy will be returned, his turn will come, or a promise will be honored. Though this does not mean that it will always be easy for him.
6. Your child is responsive to discipline. Healthy attachment facilitates trust. Your child’s ability to receive firm direction and willingly allow you to guide him is a strong indicator that he trusts you to teach him how to behave properly. Over time, your child’s choices are wiser and more careful.
Self-Awareness and Control
7. Your child is confidently independent. The beauty of a healthy attachment is that it promotes feelings of safety and trust between you and your child. At the same time, attachment supports the development of a confident, secure child, ready to explore and adapt to new situations. A securely attached child investigates neighborhoods, schools, and communities without much fear; secure in the knowledge that they have a safe place waiting for them.
LaunchPad is a counseling practice in Richmond, VA that specializes in helping families overcome stressful circumstances. Our counselors work with children, teens, and parents to reduce conflict and strengthen relationships. Parents often consult with a parenting professional to discuss how to best support their families. Children and teens also benefit from meeting with a counselor to process internal struggles. Lastly, Family Therapy that focuses on strengthening attachment allows families to attain closer and more fulfilling relationships.