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Are You a Triple AAA Parent?

Dr. Bruce Perry from the Child Trauma Academy has done fascinating research around the predictability of children’s environments. A child will have a more fulfilling and emotionally balanced life if the parent provides a nurturing and rich social environment. Perry speaks about the attentive parent who gives their baby the necessary somatosensory bath—hugging, rocking, kissing, singing, bathing, feeding, and gazing into baby’s eyes. This somatosensory bath matures over time and gets replaced by other forms of adult interactions. We can see why adults enjoy being hugged; it takes them back to a time for which they felt most safe and loved.

It is important for parents to meet the needs of their child by being attentive when their child shows signs of distress. Children feel less stress and anxiety when they have an attuned parent. Children rely on many different forms of communication from their parents. Attunement depends on the ability to communicate non-verbally. A young child and her parent communicate through facial gestures, tone of voice, eye movement, and body language. It is the parent’s role to be in tune with their child’s needs as they continue to grow and develop. Parents can better meet their child’s needs when they are aware the different tolerances that their child exhibits. Young children can be alert and inquisitive one moment and then tired, fussy, and frustrated the next.

How do you view your relationship with baby or young child? Do you have a healthy attachment? Does Baby feel soothed when you pick her up? Does she calm down when she hears your voice? These are some of the basic characteristics that we see which define healthy attachment. Babies can also form multiple attachments to different people. Not all parents can possibly meet the plethora of baby’s needs. For instance, daddy may have more energy and patience because he is not there each day providing the daily caretaking. A babysitter or nanny may play and interact for longer periods than mom, so she can take a break or complete some work. It is important for parents to know about the positive influences that others can have on their young child, and to experience how wonderful it is to have their child attached to many people.

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