One of Dr. Neufeld’s great contributions to attachment science is his model of the Six Attachment Roots. If you have ever taken a class me, or through the Neufeld Institute, you have heard about these roots as they are central to the Neufeld Paradigm.
The first root, referred to as ‘Senses’ or ‘Proximity’, is the only way humans are capable of attaching during the first year of life. This means our babies feel attached to us when they can: see, hear, taste, touch or smell us. This is why holding our babies close, singing to them, caressing them and smiling at them are both so intuitive and so important. But, if all is going well, when our children enter their second year of life, they develop another way of attaching. The “attachment food” that comes through the Senses never goes away, we just keep developing more and deeper ways of attaching. This is part of Nature’s gorgeous plan, because if our children didn’t develop other ways of holding on besides being close to us, they could never be away from us without deep distress.
Over this week, I will be introducing Dr. Neufeld’s model of the Six Attachment Roots. The “Attachment Parenting” movement, as popularized by Dr. Sears has focused exclusively on Senses as the sole means of attachment (hence: co-sleeping, babywearing and breastfeeding). When we think this is what attachment means, not only do we miss 5/6 of the picture of attachment, we also “leave out” parents who, for so many reasons, are not able to co-sleep, babywear or breastfeed. We also fail to account for the deep attachment that is waiting to be developed between parents and their adopted children who do not come together until after the first year of life.
Journey with me through the Attachment Roots and see how deep and rich attachment can be!