Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fostering Cooperation Through Attachment

I'm currently reading this fantastic book called "Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected"  by Susan Stiffelman, (MFT) and highly recommend you find a copy to read. I have to admit that I have read through many parenting books, especially when I feel a bit in crisis as a mom.  Rarely however, do I come across a book where I agree enough with the concepts to read through the book in its entirety. This might even end up in my permanent parenting resource section on my bookshelf.

One of Stiffelman's basic concepts is the power of a parent (aka the "Captain of the Ship" who creates an environment of safety and steadiness) to form a healthy, strong attachment or connection with their children. When our kids feel truly connected to us and feel like we are coming alongside them rather than at them, they are much more receptive to us.  This also applies to our marriage, co-workers, extended family members, friends, etc!  Stiffelman has 6 Stages of Attachment she lays out (proximity, sameness, belonging/loyalty, significance, love, & being known) to develop a more closer connection.   I'm not going to go in great detail of the contents of each of these stages but it would certainly make another great blog post!

As I reflect on some of the issues I'm having with both my 5 y.o. daughter (sharing issues, sneaking behind my back) and 3 y.o. son (dealing with frustrations), I'm realizing that I can help manage our issues simply by being more present and empathetic to them and working on our personal relationship.  Hooray that it can be as straightforward as this.  Now, we all know that this isn't always easy, especially when we are tired, rushed, occupied, or in the midst of a tantrum (hello, my daily existence!).  But it's in the calm moments later that we can work a bit more to let them know we are hear to listen, learn from them, be with them, and love them unconditionally.  Then we are able to prevent more issues in the future.

Are you feeling connected with your kids right now?  What are some of your favorite ways to spend quality time with them?


Jen Starks, Owner

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