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Raising a Secure Child

How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore

By Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell with Christine M. Benton
12-minute read
Audio available
Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore by Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell with Christine M. Benton

Raising a Secure Child (2017) is a guide for new or expecting parents wanting to make sure they meet the many needs of their child. Hoffman et al. are experts in helping caregivers form healthy bonds with their kids while reminding parents not to get hung up on being perfect. The authors also show how parents can better understand their own insecurities and make sure they don’t pass them on to their children.

  • Current or expecting parents
  • Nannies and childcare professionals
  • Students of social work and child psychology

Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell have shared a clinical practice in Spokane, Washington since 1985. They developed the circle of security theory to assist and educate both parents and professionals, and have also published the book The Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing Attachment in Early Parent-Child Relationships (2013).

Christine M Benton is a Chicago-based writer and editor whose self-help books have specialized in health and psychology. She is also the co-writer of Winter Blues Survival Guide: A Workbook for Overcoming SAD (2013) and Your Defiant Child (1998).

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Raising a Secure Child

How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore

By Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell with Christine M. Benton
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore by Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell with Christine M. Benton
Synopsis

Raising a Secure Child (2017) is a guide for new or expecting parents wanting to make sure they meet the many needs of their child. Hoffman et al. are experts in helping caregivers form healthy bonds with their kids while reminding parents not to get hung up on being perfect. The authors also show how parents can better understand their own insecurities and make sure they don’t pass them on to their children.

Key idea 1 of 7

A secure attachment to a primary caregiver is vital for a healthy childhood and adulthood.

Once a child is born, the baby is programmed to latch onto at least one individual they can rely on to understand and respond to their needs. This is called finding a secure attachment, and according to the psychological model of attachment theory, it may be the single most important step to achieving a physically and emotionally healthy life.

Attachment theory was developed in the twentieth century by psychologists who recognized that babies have an innate biological need for emotional comfort.

After World War II, British psychologist John Bowlby noticed that children living in orphanages were miserable despite being warm, clothed and well-fed. Bowlby deduced that the problem must stem from the one thing they didn’t have – a primary caregiver. Since the children had no one to attach to emotionally, they lacked a reliable source of reassurance, encouragement and comfort.

Psychologist Harry Harlow expanded on Bowlby’s findings by studying the habits of baby monkeys. When infant primates were given the option of a figure covered in soft cloth similar in feel to that of an adult monkey, or a non-cuddly wire figure that provided food, the baby monkeys consistently preferred comfort, that is, the cloth figure, over sustenance.

Psychologists have also come to see a child’s secure attachment as the foundation of both physical and emotional health.

When an attachment isn’t secure, a baby’s primary needs can go unmet, causing stress. This leads to the body producing the stress-related hormone cortisol, which causes systems within the body to slow down and become less effective. One such system is metabolism, which, when slowed down, causes an increase in abdominal fat. The immune system is also affected, resulting in a lowering of defenses to viruses and diseases. Cortisol is also known to damage memory and cognition.

In addition to these health risks, a secure attachment can also affect the framework for a child’s future relationships.

Studies have shown that with stable, secure attachment, children show a greater ability to empathize and form secure relationships as adults. This is also seen as a strong indicator of long life: studies worldwide have shown that socially isolated people are twice as likely to meet a premature death than those who are socially integrated.

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