Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parenting for Attachment

I have been thinking a lot about attachment.

This is probably a term that most of you don't really think about or consider at all ever.  If you are part of the foster or adoption community, it is something that you think about all of the time. Or you went through a time when you did think constantly about it or should have been thinking about it!

Attachment is so important that when you are preparing to adopt there are classes dedicated to just that topic.  There are stacks of books and articles that address the importance of attachment and even therapists whose entire focus is on attachment.

Attachment is not just a connection between two people; it is a bond that involves a desire for regular contact with that person and the experience of distress during separation from that person.  Without appropriate attachment, children can suffer an inability to form lasting, loving relationships. They may lack conscience development and cannot trust. They often grow into distant, manipulative, uncaring adults.

We talk about attachment in regards to children who are adopted or in foster care most often because they may not have had the opportunity to attach to someone.

When Lola first came home we were advised that Ryan and I be the only ones to hold her, feed her, bathe her, diaper her, and put her down to sleep.  No matter her age we were to give her a bottle and feed her in our laps to help promote attachment.  We even had her sleep with us for the first few months.  By doing all of this we were showing her that we were there to meet all of her needs.  She could trust us.

 Now that we have a foster son in the house, we are doing much of the same as we did with Lola.  It isn't to the extreme that we did with her because our family is much bigger now and there are times that I just need the help because providing everything to a demanding toddler and three other children is exhausting!

 It is difficult to tell if he bonded to me yet or not.  I look for the signs.  Does he give me eye contact?  Does he search me out if he needs something or is hurt?  Just to share a few.  Attachment takes much longer then a few weeks so that may come later, but I do worry if he was attached to his biological mom or not and what that all means.

Look.  You learned something new today and your children probably attached without you giving it a thought! :)

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