With all the parenting information available, it can be overwhelming to determine how to best meet your child’s needs. One of the best things you can provide for your child is nurturance. Children depend on their caregivers and need to know they will be there for them.
According to the Attachment Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up (ABC) Parenting program through the University of Delaware, nurturance is attending to a child through closeness or verbally soothing when the child shows a need.
Sometimes children have “big” feelings such as sadness or anger and we often may not understand and attempt to fix the problem. Rather than using distraction, telling the child “you’re okay”, ignoring, or focusing on the negative behavior, we should provide nurturance. Caregivers can offer the child hugs, pat their back, hold or rock them, or verbally label their feelings.
The benefits of nurturing a child are huge. According to the ABC program children who receive nurturance have stronger connections to their caregivers and learn to trust the world around them. They feel safe and realize you will be there for them when they need you, not just as a small child but also later as they grow.
So, the next time your child exhibits strong feelings, be there to soothe them through this moment and realize you are making a life-long difference in the connection you are building with your child.
Written by Cindie Silmon, LCMFT & Leslie Stevens, LCMFT