Mental Health Month – Part III (Attachment)
There is nothing more important to becoming a healthy, happy human being than forming a secure parent-child attachment in the first few years of life. This process begins even before birth. A happy, healthy mother carrying a baby to full term provides the perfect nurturing environment needed for the infant to enter the world prepared to love, form relationships, learn and grow. Even before birth, the infant can hear noises outside the womb and feel what mom is feeling both from her movements and her emotions.
Once the baby is born, it is essential that the primary caregiver responds to the baby’s needs in an attentive, timely, kind, and nurturing way so the child feels safe and secure, trusting that his needs will be met. This trusting relationship formed in the first few years of a child’s life is critical to his relational well being throughout his life. Psychologist John Bowlby, one of the first attachment theorists, stated “the initial relationship between self and others serves as blueprints for all future relationships.” (Bowlby, 1973)
Unfortunately, early childhood trauma can happen in numerous ways, some preventable and others not. Whether trauma is a result of neglect, abuse, ill health, or loss, it still disrupts the child’s secure attachment process. An insecurely attached child believes that he is bad, unwanted, worthless, helpless and unlovable. He experiences caregivers as unresponsive to his needs, insensitive, hurtful, and untrustworthy. He views the world as unsafe.
At Sierra Forever Families, we assist in providing caregivers with the necessary skills to improve their parent-child relationship and help their child develop a secure, loving attachment. We strengthen and stabilize families when they are in crisis and give them the tools they need to improve functioning and sustain those improvements after services have ended. Our mission is to transform the lives of children by building and nurturing permanent families because every child deserves nothing less. Please visit our website to learn more about the services provided by Sierra Forever Families.