Why do we need a different type of day-to-day parenting?
When children feel scared, alone, abandoned, hurt or hungry early in their life, they have no choice but to find ways or adaptive behaviour to help them get through these times by relying on themselves.
The signs of these ways of thinking, feeling and behaving are often seen later when children are older and living in different families. They show up as worrying or challenging behaviours that just don’t seem to make sense and make it hard for parents to know how best to care for children, This is especially so during times when the child’s outward behaviour seems to be saying that they don’t want or need the parent and won’t allow the parent to love them.
Much of traditional day-to-day parenting assumes that the child feels safe at home, trusts his parents and their motives when they discipline him. This parenting also assumes that children learn from consequences, are able to function well with a good degree of independence, and have come to accept their parents values, ideals, and goals. When these assumptions don’t seem to apply any more, parenting strategies informed by what we know about developmental trauma and attachment may better connect with the child’s inner world.
Parenting with PACE
Parenting using the principles of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy helps the parent understand the meaning of their child’s behaviour and stay calm and emotionally regulated as they talk with their child, even at very difficult times This, in turn, helps the child calm and helps the parent remain emotionally available to the child.
This parenting approach suggests a range of parenting strategies which make the world feel a safer place to the troubled child. They help the parent show their child that they are doing their best to understand them and work out with them, better ways for their child to understand and manage their own emotions, thoughts and behaviours. They aim to help the parent help their child believe that they really will keep on trying until they get along better.
Parenting that includes an attitude of PACE helps a parent see the strengths and positive features of their child that lie underneath their negative and challenging behaviors. It helps children learn to trust their parents.
Further reading from the Resource Library
All Attachment-Focused Parenting resources
The Attachment Pledge
Creating Loving Attachments. Parenting with PACE to nurture confidence and security in the troubled child