500048151_5dcb941ee4_nI loved, loved, loved the Creating a Family show this week on Helping Your Adopted Child Heal from Trauma and Loss. The guest, Carol Lozier, a therapist specializing in adoption and foster issues and author of The Adoptive and Foster Parent Guide, is one wise woman. Of course I always love it when someone is making a point that I’ve long tried to make, and one of her many gems of wisdom is one I’ve been preaching for a while– attachment is a two way street. (The truth, dadgummit, is that she did it better than me.)

Parents Need to Attach Too

We talk a lot about helping our kids attach to us, and often overlook the fact that parents also need to work on attaching to their child. Although this is necessary with all kids regardless how they came to be ours, it is especially important with adopted kids, and even more important if you are adopting a child who comes with a history that you haven’t shared. (I suppose all adopted children have a history we haven’t share, but I am specifically referring to adopting children past infancy.)

Four Styles of Parental Attachment

Parental attachment follows the same four general styles of attachment –secure, ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized. Carol gave a simple “test” we can use to determine our attachment style with our child.

How do you feel in that first moment when you see your child after a separation?

For some reason that simple question gives me goose bumps. My prayer for all children everywhere is that they have at least one person in their life whose eyes light up when they walk in the room. That ought to be a birthright.

The good news is that just like we can help our kiddos improve their attachment to us, we can also help ourselves to improve our attachment to our kids. And, given that we are the adults in the situation, it should be easier. How to improve parental attachment was beyond the scope of yesterday’s Creating a Family show (sounds like a great topic for a future show), but I know for me what seems to work is to look for similarities (we both like clothes shopping), appreciate the differences (once he is able to direct all that energy there will be no stopping that boy), and making sure that at least once a week you do something with your child that is fun for both of you.

OK, that’s my summary, now what has worked for you?

P.S. Check out Carol Lozier’s website, Forever-Families, and Facebook Group. She is a great resource for adoptive and foster parents.

Image credit: z6p6tist6