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Attachment and Parenting

Mental Health

By Emily Jensby, LCMFT and Cindie Silmon, LCMFT​

Parenting can be an overwhelming job. We often worry about many aspects of raising healthy children. We make decisions such as what to feed them, discipline approaches, age appropriate toys and overall how to ensure they succeed in a demanding world. While all these things are important, one of the biggest things to help a child succeed is ensuring they have a secure attachment to a caregiver.

Historically, parents didn’t see attachment as important, believing that young children would not remember these experiences.  However, research has discovered early attachment is critical to the well-being and future mental health of children as they grow. Secure attachment has shown to improve social-emotional functioning and the ability to establish meaningful relationships in life.

Secure attachment is providing a consistent relationship where a child feels confident that the caregiver will provide for their physical, emotional and social needs. This provides a sense of safety to your child. Different ways you can provide this for your child include:

  • Soothing an upset/crying infant or child (letting them know you will help them with tough emotions)
  • Smiling and showing interest in your child and things that interest them
  • Giving them positive attention
  • Providing physical affection
  • Being dependable
  • Spending time with your child doing enjoyable activities

Remember: You have an important role in ensuring your child can succeed in the future. For more information regarding attachment