The attachment theory

It’s just a theory but boy did it affect me when I learnt about it during my training as a counsellor. 

For the layperson, it’s still a bit technical as it has lots of references to clinical studies, scientific studies and other reference books. A good reference book that makes it simple-ish (!) is ‘Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt’.

In a nutshell, human babies are born without part of their brains developed. It develops in a way their first 7 years of life provides for them.

 If a child gets a lot of love, encouragement, respect and freedom to learn, their Brain will develop fully and will function in a way that produces the right hormones and chemicals in our bodies so that we feel normal and function normally. 

If a child is inhibited by bullying, violence, negligence, teasing their frontal cortex will not develop properly and all sorts of behavioural, psychological and developmental problems can arise from this.

When I learnt about the attachment theory in my training, it floored me. I saw my life in a psychological paragraph. As an adult looking back and finding out about the attachment theory. I was really angry that the theory of attachment has been around since the 50′s and it’s not widely known about.

 Something that I’ve found that very much goes along with this is that a child cannot be made to be independent. Trying to make a child independent can make them co-dependant. Co-dependence means (in my simple form) that a person doesn’t like being alone and will do anything not to be, i.e.: drugs, drink, sex, or people please.

I will go to nature for a good analogy: think of birds and the nest. The parent birds look after their chick until they can fend for themselves and when the chicks are ready they will leave the nest.

If we practice attachment parenting (which basically means keeping the child close to us like the cavemen did and being child centred, show the child love). Our children will leave the nest when they are ready and be independent and hopefully balanced. This is not that easy in modern day life both with demands for work and mortgage payments; however I have done my best to try to practice this. I am in no way perfect at it, I know people who do a far better job than I do. I do not home school, they do, and I also did not breastfeed my daughter at all and my son not for very long! Hindsight is great and if I had another baby now I would do it all very differently. When we know better we do better. What I did do when I learnt about the attachment theory was try to implement it to the best of my ability into my life with my children. Its progress not perfection

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