Raising a Secure Child: Knowing How to React to Your Child in Certain Situations
When we become parents, we are often overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising a healthy, happy, and secure child. We want to be there for our children, to support them through difficult situations, and to set them up for success in their future relationships. But how do we know the right way to react to our child in certain situations? In this article, we will explore some research behind attachment theory, and provide tips for responding to their needs, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and communicating our love and support.
Attachment Theory: Building Trust and Security
According to attachment theory, children have already established a sense of trust, or lack thereof, with their caregiver before they reach the age of one. If they are used to you reacting when they cry because they need something, they feel secure—they know they can count on you. They associate their relationship with you as one of comfort and dependability.
If they are frequently ignored or rejected when they have a legitimate need, they may become what’s called “insecurely attached,” and look to you not out of a feeling of security but rather out of necessity. This insecurity can carry over into their adult relationships. It is critical, therefore, to respond to their needs in a timely and attentive manner. Being alert and attentive to your kids’ needs shows them that they’re a priority to you, and builds trust and security in your relationship.
Understanding Your Child
As parents, we often assume that our children are like us, and that they will react to situations the same way that we would. But the truth is, no two kids are alike. If you have more than one child, you may see that one is more rowdy and may need reminders to calm down, while the other is shy and may need encouragement when around other people. In order to understand how to interact with them in a way that is beneficial, you need to know what is unique about them.
The only way to get to know your children in this way is to spend time with them. You need to see how they react in certain situations to become familiar with their habits. Then you’ll be better-equipped with a customized approach for how best to help them when they need something. This approach doesn’t mean letting your child get special treatment or extra attention–if they do something wrong, or consistently repeat negative behaviors, it’s OK to let them know their behavior is not right and that there will be consequences. What matters is your approach and your understanding that the way to get the message across to them may be different for each kid.
Communication and Love
Finally, it’s essential to communicate our love and support to our children on a regular basis. Although we know we love our kids and show them affection every day, they often don’t connect the dots and understand that we think the world of them. Tell them that you love them, even if it’s just a quick “I love you” before bed or on the way to school.
Engage with your child at home and make them a part of household responsibilities. Tell them how much you appreciate their help. Besides training them to be more responsible, this can teach them to show gratitude toward others. Studies show that those who say thank you are generally more compassionate and willing to help out.
The Bottom Line
Raising a secure child involves responding to their needs, understanding their unique strengths and weaknesses, and communicating our love and support. By building trust and security in our relationships with our children, we can set them up for success in their future relationships and create a healthy family dynamic. Remember, parenting is not easy, but with a little effort and love, we can raise happy, healthy and secure children who will grow into caring adults and parents themselves.