“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.” – Brene Brown

What’s your story? How does your story affect your children? According to research by Daniel Siegel, how you make sense of your childhood and the relationships you had with primary caregivers is the biggest predictor of attachment in your children. This is significant because it isn’t what happened to you that influence the relationship with your children, it’s how you interpret it.

Let’s back up and talk about what kinds of parent-children attachment there are:

  • Secure – In a secure attachment, children experience their parents as responsive and consistent. The child feels safe, soothed and seen enough. I say enough because parenting isn’t about perfection; it’s about showing up enough and repairing when mistakes happen.
  • Avoidant – Children experience parents in avoidant attachment as rejecting and distant. The adult in this type of attachment tends to struggle with non-verbal cues from loved ones and can over verbalize when overwhelmed. This indicates a stronger left-brain hemisphere.
  • Ambivalent – Children experience parents as inconsistent and/or intrusive. This adult attachment has difficult with self-regulation and tends to run anxious. This indicates a strong right brain hemisphere.
  • Disorganized – Children experience parents as frightening, confusing and fearful. This type of attachment is usually due to unresolved trauma. Unresolved trauma affects children rather they witnessed the event(s) or not.

The first three attachment types are functional, however, secure is ideal. Disorganized is a maladaptive attachment and all types are reversible. Coaching and counseling help strengthen secure attachment by helping the parent change the narrative of their trauma or life circumstances.

How do adult stories differ?

  • Free – flexible, coherent, and self-reflective. It’s a balanced perspective and this narrative predicts with 85% (once child is born, 75% if child is unborn) a secure attachment between parent and child.
  • Dismissing – incoherent, inflexible, minimize emotional significance and lack of recall. This type of narrative has many “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” and is associated with avoidant attachment.
  • Entangled – preoccupation with past intrudes on present and intense idealization. This type of story often gets stuck in the past and has trouble discussing the future. It’s associated with ambivalent attachment.
  • Unresolved – disorganization and disorientation around issues of grief or trauma. The story is often scattered and it’s difficult to understand what’s in the past, present and future.

65% of the population have secure attachment (according to Daniel Siegel) and a free flowing, integrated story that includes the past, present and future. For those people not yet in the secure attachment category, it’s never too late to move up the attachment ladder. Counseling and coaching services can help parents retell their story with a balanced, cohesive narrative. By talking through your past, present and what you want for the future, you give your child the gift of security, safety, and the ability to self regulate with a fully integrated brain.