Attachment is the strong, affectional tie we have with special people in our lives that leads us to experience pleasure and joy when we interact with them and to be confronted by their nearness during times of stress.
When a baby feels anxious or afraid, they crawl into their mother’s lap and clings closely. Freud first suggested that the infant’s emotional tie to the mother is the foundation for all later relationships. According to a well-known behaviorist account, as the mother satisfies the baby’s hunger, infant learn to prefer her soft caresses, warm smiles, and tender wards of comfort because these events have been paired with tension relief. Although feeding is an important context for building a close relationship, attachment does not depend on hunger satisfaction.
According to Bowlby (1980), out of their experiences during the different phases, children construct an enduring affectional tie to the caregiver that they can use as a secure base in the parent’s absence. This inner representation becomes a vital part of personality. It serves as an internal working model, or set of expectations about the availability of attachment figures and their likelihood of providing support during times of stress. This image becomes the model, or guide, for all future close relationships. Infants use the parent as a secure base from which to explore. When separated, they may or may not cry, but if they do, it is because the parent is absent and they prefer her to the stranger.
The different pattern of attachment are-
- Avoidant Attachment
- Resistant Attachment
- Disorganized – disoriented attachment
In avoidant attachment infants are not distressed when separated they react to the stranger in much the same way as to the parent. During the reunion, they avoid or are slow to greet the parent, and when picked up, they often fail to cling.
In resistant attachment, infants often seek closeness to the parent before separation. During reunion they display angry, resistive behavior, sometimes hitting and pushing or maybe crying even after being picked up.
Parenting Can Facilitate a Child’s Journey to Mental Health Recovery
Summary: Parenting plays a profound role in shaping a child’s overall well-being, including their mental health. When a child faces the challenges of mental illness, it is vital for parents to provide the right support, understanding, and guidance to aid their recovery.
Building a Strong Foundation of Understanding and Empathy
Understanding and empathy form the bedrock of proper parenting when a child is dealing with mental illness. It is crucial for parents to educate themselves about their child’s condition, its symptoms, and how it impacts their emotions and behavior. This knowledge allows parents to approach the child’s struggles with compassion and provide appropriate support.
Fostering Open Communication and Active listening
Encouraging open communication is essential to establishing a safe space for the child to express their feelings and concerns. Parents should actively listen without judgment, allowing the child to share their experiences and emotions. This two-way communication not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also enables early detection of potential challenges, ensuring timely intervention.
Providing Access to Professional Mental Health Care
Proper parenting involves seeking professional mental health care for the child. Collaborating with therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists creates an integrated support system for the child’s recovery. Regular therapy sessions can help the child develop coping mechanisms and address underlying issues contributing to their mental health struggles.
Creating a Nurturing and Stable Environment
A nurturing and stable home environment is vital for a child’s mental health recovery. Setting clear boundaries, maintaining consistent routines, and offering unconditional love create a sense of safety and security for the child. This stable foundation enables the child to focus on healing and growth.
Positive Reinforcement and Celebrating Progress
Recognizing and celebrating the child’s efforts and milestones, no matter how small, is essential for building their self-esteem and motivation. Positive reinforcement reinforces the idea that progress is valued, encouraging the child to continue their journey towards recovery with determination and confidence.
Educating Family and Community to Reduce stigma
Proper parenting extends beyond the confines of the home. Parents can play a pivotal role in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness within the family and community. By educating others about the child’s condition and fostering understanding and acceptance, parents create an inclusive support network for the child.
Teaching Healthy Coping Strategies
Parents can actively teach their children healthy coping strategies to manage stress and emotions. Techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, and engaging in creative activities can empower the child to navigate challenges and cope with triggers effectively.
Promoting Physical Well-Being
Physical and mental health are intertwined, and proper parenting involves encouraging a balanced lifestyle. Parents should prioritize a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep for their child. A healthy body contributes to a healthier mind, enhancing the child’s overall well-being.
Advocating for the Child’s Needs
Parents act as advocates for their children in various settings, such as schools or social circles. Ensuring the child receives appropriate accommodations and support in these environments fosters an environment conducive to recovery and growth.
Patience and Flexibility
Recovery from mental illness may be a gradual process, and parents must exercise patience and flexibility. Each child’s journey is unique, and parents should respect their pace, offering unwavering support through the ups and downs.
Proper parenting can be a powerful force in helping a child recover from mental illness. By providing understanding, empathy, and the right support, parents create a nurturing environment that facilitates healing and growth. Active listening, open communication, and access to professional care further strengthen the child’s chances of recovery. Together, with love, patience, and a commitment to reducing stigma, parents can empower their children to overcome mental health challenges and embrace a brighter, healthier future.
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