20th Anniversary Issue Secure attachment happens when we receive consistent fulfillment of what I call the five As, our earliest needs: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, allowing. We can look at how they were or were not fulfilled in our childhood. We respond in detail, with at least one example, to each of the following elements of the five As in a journal. We distinguish which parent fulfilled the needs if only one of them did. Remember that no one will give a perfect score to his or her parents. Here are the elements of an ideal holding environment, the qualities of secure attachment. This is not meant to describe the usual experience of a childhood. Fortunately, as children we can experience safety and security and have our needs satisfied with good enough parenting. We do not need perfection, nor is it possible. Yet, when there were major deficiencies in early life we find grist for the mill of our personal work of grief and then self-parenting. As part of this work we let go of blame or resentment toward our parents for their inadequacies. If you are a parent, you may want to use the listings below to look into your own parenting style. Share this practice with your children if they are old enough to understand it. Ask them for an honest take on your parenting of them and open a dialogue about it. Finally, the five As also describe what we need from our adult partners. You can, therefore, adapt the following points to your relationship needs and longings, you to your partner, your partner to...
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