Recently, my wife and I attended a parenting conference specifically for foster and adoptive parents. This is the second year and, just like last year, the time was well spent.
Just like last year, the keynote speakers brought a subject that was new and very relevant – attachment. For those who may be scratching your heads, attachment refers to the way in which a child bonds to their parents from day 1. It is developed by a very basic and foundational cycle of stress and soothing. It goes like this:
- The baby cries because they are hungry (stress; adrenaline; cortisol; heart racing; muscles tensed)
- The parent soothes and provides food (calm; serotonin; relaxation)
Researchers estimate that this cycle is repeated 10,000 times in the first few years of life and if the stress cycle is allowed to occur for short periods, attachment is securely established and cognitive and emotional health is much more likely.