Attachment and Parenting

Attachment is the capacity to form and maintain healthy emotional relationships. In the book “Raising a Secure Child”, authors Hoffmann, Cooper and Powel remind us of the importance of connection in establishing a secure attachment between parent and child. They tell us:

girl walking and holding her parents hands

  • “Every time you answer your child’s need for comfort or confidence, you’re building a bond of trust.
  • Every time you show that you understand how your child feels and what your child wants, you’re demonstrating the power of a connection that all of us are born seeking.
  • Every time you help your baby or toddler manage the discomfort and frustration of being a newcomer to the human condition, you’re teaching your child acceptance of emotions.”


These are the gifts of attachment. A secure attachment forms naturally for a child when a parent or other primary caregiver can: Help the child feel safe even when frightened or uncomfortable … Help the child feel secure enough to explore the world … Help the child accept and manage their emotional experiences

Both parents and children are hardwired for attachment. Parents are vital in helping children discover this confusing and exciting world in which we all live. Growing attachment can happen in natural ways, when we initiate conversation and engage in play with a child.

Let’s look at some ways to create a healthy parent-child attachment.

  • Warmth - Help me, but don’t take over
  • Enjoyment - Enjoy when I can do something well on my own
  • Delight - in me - just for me - not for what I do
  • I need to know that you want me to explore. Watch over me as I make new discoveries.

Other resources and recommended reading:

  1. Raising a Secure Child (2017) by Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper, Bert Powell
  2. Attachment Network
  3. Neufeld Institute