a reply to: BO XIAN
PARENTING STYLES OF EACH OF THE 4 ATTACHMENT TYPES:
[Paraphrased plus my own spring-boarding off of Chapter 11 of ATTACHMENTS by Sibcy & Clinton ref'd above]
SECURE [HEALTHY] ATTACHMENT STYLES:
PARENTING tends to be:
--Sensitive to child's needs
--Quickly responsive to child's needs
--Doesn't AUTOMATICALLY, if at all, see child's expressions of discomfort as manipulation
--As children grow, parents set limits on what sort of expressions of discomfort are fitting--with respect to intensity, type, context issues etc.
--Parents coach their children in how to handle emotions and how to express emotions effectively, constructively and within healthy boundaries.
--Parents are not threatened by their children's individuation, autonomy, stretching their wings, trying out new behaviors and identities. Parents
actually encourage such and provide freedom and support for appropriate risks within fitting limits.
--Parents remain emotionally accessible; keenly interested; demonstrably understanding; healthily affectionate [as fits each child's inclinations];
with ready support for troublesome situations and incidents.
= = =
PARENTS WITH AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT STYLES:
--May not be sensitive much at all and certainly not up to the sensitivity of SECURE ATTACHMENT STYLES PARENTING.
--May be angry, annoyed, frustrated, bothered, resentful of child's expressed need for comfort or help to get their needs met.
--Like my mother--may let the baby cry in the crib for hours on end--forcing independence beyond the child's capacity to make constructive sense of
--May hold the baby only when feeding, diapering or for 5-10 minutes of 'cuddling'--more as a duty, a chore, a bother than as a time of shared
affection, joy and loving. I observed too much of that with my adopted sister--brought home at 10 days old.
--Likely to be !!!CONTROL!!! freaks . . . with regard to emotional expression; even petty children's decisions such as choice of clothes to wear,
toys to play with etc.
--May actually reject outright their child's pleas for comfort.
--No coaching of the children's emotions or emotional expressions--and certainly not in a healthy modeling, constructively teaching sort of way.
--Such parents find emotions threatening and so work to repress, squash, mangle, rationalize away . . . anything but expressed and certainly not
expressed constructively, productively.
--Such children of AVOIDANT PARENTING find early on that they must find their own comfort; their own distractions; their own entertainment . . . and
to avoid counting on being any meaningful intimate part of their parents' life and world much at all.
--Such parents avoid providing a SECURE BASE from which the child can feel secure and bold about exploring and growing into a confident adult making
useful sense out of the world and other relationships.
= = =
PARENTING WITH AMBIVALENT ATTACHMENT STYLES:
--VERY INCONSISTENT--attending to their children one minute and totally ignoring and rejecting them the next.
--Tend to train their children that if the child is to get any significant attention from the parent, the child will have to be GREATLY DISTRESSED
AND/OR OUTRAGEOUSLY DRAMATIC in their pleas for comfort, for help.
--The opposite of avoidant parents, ambivalent parents tend to try to cage, box-in, stifle, prevent, !!!CONTROL!!! their children's emotional
expressions more or less entirely. They also work hard to PREVENT AUTONOMY and independence on the part of their children--seeing it as threatening or
an intolerable loss to the parent somehow. The parent, in an upside-down sort of parenting phenomenon--tends to feel abandoned when the child
expresses some independence or autonomy.
--Such parents train their children to compliantly play the roles of learned helplessness and slavish dependence on the parent--for virtually
everything. What cereal to eat; what shirt and socks to wear; almost how to breathe.
--If the child succeeds at a shred of autonomy and independence, the parent may retaliate with great drama and vengeance--very rejecting and
= = =
PARENTING WITH DISORGANIZED ATTACHMENT STYLES:
--Give the parents huge degrees of un-worked through loss and trauma in their own childhood--they tend to try and !!!CONTROL!!!, even reject their
children's EMOTIONAL EXPRESSIONS AND NEEDS.
--They tend to be chaotic and paranoid, fearful when their children express any autonomy or independence.
--Such traumas within the parent in the situation with their child may trigger the parent VERBALLY AND EMOTIONALLY !!!EXPLODING!!! all over the child
as though the child has committed the unpardonable sin for wanting to choose their own shirt for the day. Of course, this can terrify the child and
leave the child feeling enormously insecure, feeling very helpless and trapped in a no-win situation.
--Commonly such mothers are in abusive relationships which expose their children to seeing beloved mummy threatened, beaten, abused in a frightful
variety of ways. This again, of course, leaves the child feeling unsafe, insecure, terrorized and too often blaming themselves for mother being
abused--thinking irrationally that if the child was more perfect, somehow mummy would not be beaten yet again.
--Such parents may also carry on the tradition and pass the abuse on down to their children in such situations.
= = =
Perhaps you can identify with one or more of the above patterns. Sometimes parents will demonstrate more than one such set of patterns--some of this
style and some of that style. However, as a rule, the above collection of patterns go with their respective ATTACHMENT STYLES.
I'd be very interested in any comments or memories regarding such experiences . . . and/or any questions related thereto.