How can you raise healthy and securely attached kids? Do you want to improve the relationship that you have with your kids? Why should you always commit to repairing after a rupture?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about raising healthy, resilient kids with Dr. Sarah Bren.
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Meet Dr. Sarah Bren
Dr. Sarah Bren is a licensed clinical psychologist and mom of two, whose passion is helping parents find their inner confidence and raise healthy, resilient kids. Dr. Sarah is the host of the podcast Securely Attached and the co-founder of Upshur Bren Psychology Group in Pelham, NY where she treats parents, children, and families.
In This Podcast
- Attachment theory versus attachment parenting
- It depends on the family too
- Tips for therapists working with attachment
- Dr. Bren’s advice to private practitioners
Attachment theory versus attachment parenting
All [attachment theory] says, in a nutshell, is that human beings from birth are hard-wired to form an attachment bond with their primary caregiver as a mechanism to increase their chances of survival.Dr. Bren
Since attachment theory was first suggested in the 1950s, it has blossomed and been extensively researched up until the present day.
Therefore, “attachment theory” has become an umbrella term and within it, there are different schools of thought and research possibilities that have branched out. One of these schools of thought is “attachment parenting”.
[Attachment parenting] is one way to parent a child and I don’t want to diminish it because I think for some families it works very well. My problem with it is that it’s a very highly demanding ask for the parents.Dr. Bren
The difficult truth is that attachment parenting is not guaranteed to create a secure attachment between the parent and the child.
It depends on the family too
I think there’s a bit of a … dichotomy in the world of parenting where it’s like sometimes people are really focused on helping parents learn about child development [but] don’t think about the … parent’s mental health.Dr. Bren
It is important to explore ways in which parenting can be beneficial for the child. However, it’s equally important to consider the parents or caregivers in the context because the approach to parenting also has to take their needs and strengths into consideration.
The parent is then feeling like they’re failing and it’s affecting their ability to show up confidently, and then that’s not a good alignment for that family.Dr. Bren
So, there’s a space between a child’s development and the parent’s mental health. In that space, there is an overlap, and that’s where the secure attachment can be nurtured that benefits both the child and their caregiver.
Tips for therapists working with attachment
If you are working with a child, teenager, or adult about their attachment styles and needs, you need to observe their whole family system.
A person does not develop their attachment style in a vacuum because it is impacted by family dynamics from their youngest years.
You cannot look at a person without understanding this relational context … even if they’re an adult, you have to go and look at what their early attachment relationships [were like] because those relationships create the blueprint that then all of us subsequently use to anticipate how other people are going to respond to us, or how we imagine they will respond to us, which shapes how we show up.Dr. Bren
Additionally, therapists can work with their clients – especially parents that want to improve their relationship with their kids – to understand that some of the healthiest relationships have a rupture that is followed by a repair.
So, if there is a rupture and the parent yells at the child, don’t leave it there, they need to repair that connection.
Relationships that have no rupture are nice but … they’re usually pretty superficial … really intimate relationships do have rupture because there is closeness [and so the risk] of missing the mark.Dr. Bren
When there is repair after rupture, those relationships are often more intimate with a deeper level of knowing one another and a sense of trust.
Dr. Bren’s advice to private practitioners
Recognize your role as the relational piece, as a therapist, when you are working within a family dynamic. Realize that relationships are tools to gain self-awareness.
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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