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Attachment may not be the big deal we all think it is

I originally wrote this post on my previous blog, but I’ve reproduced it again here (slightly updated) as I was flattered to discover someone had linked to the original blog post (which has now been taken down).

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I wrote a post about attachment some time ago, mainly because I was fed up with the massive mis-appropriation of the term, and the lack of understanding surrounding it. Unfortunately this sort of stuff is still around everywhere you look, so it's worth having a quick recap with some of the key points of what attachment is, and what it is not.

Attachment is a descriptive term which denotes a dependant relationship, i.e. the relationship a child has with a care-giver. Attachment is not a term for the relationship you have with your partner. (I have heard of people being given 'attachment questionnaires' by Social Workers to determine what their attachment relationship with their partner is like. While this may be useful on some levels to reflect on the relationsh…

The ‘WHY’ question.

Tickle is very definitely at the ‘why’ stage. It’s not uncommon for children to go through this, although normally they get it out of the way a bit earlier. In Tickle’s case, sometimes the “Why?” is a genuine ‘why are you saying that / I don’t know what you mean’ - and sometimes it’s an angry “WHY?!!” (are you still going on at me?!)

We’ve had a new ‘why’ question this week: why did Birth Dad hurt me?

That’s a trickier one to deal with. It started off in the car, just the two of us, on the way back from the dentist. Tickle asked for a ‘chat’, which is his code for ‘there’s something on my mind that I need to talk about’. We had a chat. It lasted all the way home, all the way through dinner, and all the way in to bed. I didn’t really know what to say, so mostly I was honest: “I don’t know why he hurt you Tickle, but he shouldn’t have done it. It wasn’t your fault, and it was wrong. Grown ups are not allowed to hurt children. I don’t know why he hurt you.” Eventually he said “I don’t wa…