Attachment in Parenting

Parenting an adopted child

As we adopted out first two kids, I was ready to apply the things I’d learned from parenting books and from my own growing up.  However, my kids didn’t fall into this line of parenting. They fought us on every boundary, rule and ideal.  As our kids grew so did our struggles.  We were at the end of our options and books on parenting when a friend introduced us to the Tapestry Ministry that works with adoptive families.  There we learned that many adoptive kids need extra help in attaching in relationships and our parenting style wasn’t nurturing that relationship into a secure attachment for them.

It’s not about them, It’s about you.

When my husband and I started going to the Tapestry Ministry for adoptive families, the leaders told us, “I’ts not about them as much as it’s about you.”  My husband and I laughed to ourselves and gave each other the knowing eye.  We wanted to say “No, its really about them.  Let me tell you some of the things going on in our home.” 

We met with a counselor who also works with adoptive families and this was the first time we were introduced to attachment styles.  We learned that how we attached to our parents would be how we attach to our children.  We both thought that we were fairly securely attached to our parents only to find out we weren’t.  We both had insecure attachments.  We discovered that experts are finding that we can move from an insecure attachment to a secure attachment with help. 

So now we know, it IS about us.  We continue to work on our relationship skills with each other and our kids and we continue to work toward secure attachments in our family.

Building a plane while flying

Many days it feels like we are building a plane as we are flying it.  We are trying to build secure attachments with our kids as we are learning what that looks like.  At first I felt shame and sadness for the things I didn't do right or give to my children.  But as I continued to grow healthier in my own attachment I learned that my kids were not only now receiving the things they needed but they were also learning some other things from me as well.  They were learning that it's never too late to change, life is about continuing to grow in our journey.  They learned that re-dos and imperfection are okay.  They were seeing humility as I was willing to recognize that I'm not perfect and forgiveness as I went back in situations to apologize.  These benefits go above and beyond what I imagined when I began searching for parenting help so many years ago and it continues to grow as I grow.