Every parent knows whether or not they are close to their son and/or daughter. In this modern emotional world, an increasing common term to define this bonding or connectedness is “attunement.” Attunement means that you are attempting to respond to your child’s emotional needs, resulting in the child’s sense of being understood and valued. The capability to attune differs on the personality and temperament of children and how easy or difficult it is for us to relate to them, given our own individual personality traits and Every parent knows whether or not they are close to their son and/or daughter. In this modern emotional world, an increasing common term to define this bonding or connectedness is “attunement.” Attunement means that you are attempting to respond to your child’s emotional needs, resulting in the child’s sense of being understood and valued. The capability to attune differs on the personality and temperament of children and how easy or difficult it is for us to relate to them, given our own individual personality traits and family experiences. Being attuned or attached in a healthy way to your child occurs most of the time when he or she is younger. However, that tends to drop considerably when your child becomes a teenager.
There are many challenges of parenting today such as the stresses of work, financial worry, marital tension and conflict, the determination for success, modern day stresses on our kids, and mixed families due to divorce and remarriage. There are more forces than ever that are tearing at relationships with children.
How can you increase attunement and connect with your children in a way that promotes emotional health? When we consider an attachment perspective, it all starts with safety in the home with primary caretakers.
Below are FIVE SIMPLE CONCEPTS you can use to help promote secure relationship patterns with your children:
1) Accept Your Child’s TEMPERAMENT – each child is born with a certain temperament which is developed by an early age. Most kids are classified into one of four categories: easy-going, challenging, “slow-to-warm-up kids”, and mixed temperament kids. What really matters is how well parents adjust to their children’s personalities if parents and children have mismatched temperaments or if both have difficult temperaments. Accepting a child for who they are helps them to feel secure and okay with their personality and identity.
2) Invest in TIME with your children – Most parents make a distinction between quality time and quantity time. What this can translate into is “I don’t have much time for my children, but when I do, I want us to have fun together”. To actually have quality time with kids, parents have to spend a lot of ordinary time with them. This time is the kind that develops trust, learns their love language, and to truly understand their ways. Quality moments require many hours of little moments – talking about your children’s day, having conversations, reading and telling stories. Kids NEED both high-quality and high quantity time. They need you in healthy doses!
3) Deliberately TOUCH your kids every day – This can be from high-fives and wrestling matches to strokes of the hair, squeezes of the hands, and goodnight kisses. Those with babies should hold them gently and lovingly, not just functionally. Within the safety and warmth of their arms, children learn that relationships are nurturing and secure. This can be challenging if as a parent you have an avoidant attachment style. The parents that have the ambivalent attachment style, the need to monitor how much the children are touched is another factor. It is important to pay attention to their children’s cues and adjust their behavior appropriately. It is important to know which type of touch feels good to your children and then respond in that way every chance you get. This may change as they get older so don’t take it personally if they are not as receptive, just be willing to give affirming touch when you can.
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