Transforming Caregiver Stress into Compassion Resilience

The Dance of Attachment

Parenthood is full of uncertainties, but at least there is one thing that’s guaranteed; we will get triggered, no matter how much awareness we bring to our parenting.

It is inevitable that breaches will occur in the ebb and flow of the relationship…a healthy partnership dances in and out of attachment multiple times in a day.

And whilst it is useful to identify the historical narrrative that drives our reactions, it is not essential. What is essential, is knowing that when our alarm system is fired, it creates a boundary, between us and our children. They sense a withdrawal, a separation and a threat, even if just for a moment.

If our relationships are built on securely attached and stable foundations, these mini-disconnects may create a jolt, but do little overall harm. But when our children are overwhelmed, anxious, have experienced neglect, multiple moves or lack a sense of permanence, then “facing separation can be a vulnerability too much for our children to bear” ( Dr Gordon Neufeld, developmental psychologist).

Reducing the amount of separation to a minimum is the first step in softening our children’s hyper-alert alarm response, which is often the at the root of their reactive actions. So the parent’s job is not to get swept away by the swell of plitvicka jezera national parkemotions, but to stay focused on building the bridge to the next connection.

Breaks will happen, AND we must move swiftly towards interactive repair.

We can do this by having tools at the ready that help us to acknowledge and soothe our own inevitable reactivity when it arises with self-compassion, acceptance and curiosity.

We can do this by practicing alternative, empowered responses to our children’s moods and behaviours, so we can shift beyond our defensive, survival reactions towards creating the safe, calm and connected atmosphere we all aspire to live in.

And we can do this by keeping in mind, that when one dancer changes their steps, the dance is compelled to change, too.

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