This Revolutionary Parenting Insight Will Help Your Love Life
Tread carefully with each conversation or argument if your young child happens to be present. As always, parents need to offer support and guidance as their child develops their social and reasoning skills with age.
If you’re having troubles, there are no doubts that your child will notice changes. It is up to you as a parent to avoid placing them in the middle of the problem and instead, be honest and informative and reassure them they are not the cause.
The fear of your child growing insecure and unstable is a common concern, but is not the case each time.
As long as mistakes are realized and worked through, the examples you set early on can have more lasting positive effects for them later.
Even before children start forming episodic memories, they’re learning relationship dynamics that will color their entire lives. Consider a mother holding an infant, in the first weeks and months of life. Their eyes are locked in dyadic bliss. Then, in one of the earliest forms of exploration, the child looks away. After about five seconds — ideally — the child will turn back on their own rhythm. But some parents, called “preoccupied” in relative literature, will interrupt, and call the child’s attention back — which already gives the tiny human the message, wait, wait, what about me. “By the time the child is 12 months old, they’ve figured out what makes a parent anxious,” says Kent Hoffman, co-author of Raising a Secure Child and a psychotherapist with over 40 years of experience.
If a parent struggles with autonomy — with allowing the child to explore the world on their own — then the child will struggle with autonomy, will feel compelled to always cling close to mom. If the caregiver is anxious about support — as in, providing a steady presence when emotions get overwhelming — then, by the time the kid turns 1, before they grasp language, they’ve learned not to go to their parent for soothing, for sorting through difficult feelings.
The thing about kids is that they become adults. And the thing about adults is they inevitably fall in love. When they do start in on romantic relationships, they naturally enough revert to the dynamics that governed their first experiences with love — their parents. The research indicates that about 50 to 60 percent of the U.S. population has “secure attachment,” meaning that as babies, they get a little distressed when a parent leaves but can do things on their own, knowing that the parent will return. That leaves the remaining 40 percent with some matured, often unconscious form of relational anxiety — making them extra sensitive to separation (and thus always needing to feel as close as possible to their partner) or vulnerability (and thus getting spooked by the emotions and emotional displays that accompany intimate relationships).