The possessiveness of the two-year-old is familiar to all of us (“MY mama!”) and is a sign of this attachment root in action. Loyalty to us can be seen when the child seeks to “protect” us from a perceived threat or when they announce that they will live with us “forever.” More importantly, though, is that our children need to feel our loyalty to them. We need to find a way to their side during sibling conflict (can we manage to be on two, three, four children’s side at once? This is the parenting challenge we must rise to!), to help them feel that we will always keep them safe and to always act in a way that maintains their dignity.

We can see that this attachment root, as they all do, never goes away; a sense of belonging and loyalty plays out in all of our attachment relationships throughout our lives. If all goes well, however, our children will move to even deeper levels of attachment (stay tuned!) which makes room to remain attached even if they aren’t loyal (they become free to have their own opinions, ideas and preferences). This is how the attachment roots play out–as the capacity opens up for a deeper level of attachment, more and more freedom opens up for a child and they begin to feel in their bones that they have an unconditional invitation to exist in our presence.

But each sequential root must be experienced deeply in order for the deeper roots to be able to, well, take root. So, if you have a two-year-old, or a child of any age who is only attached through sameness, be sure that you wholeheartedly and warmly convey that they are *your* boy or *your* girl (and watch their face light up), that you are on their side and that nothing they do or say will cause that to become undone. And, always, if they ask you to marry them: say yes!
#Belonging #Loyalty #AttachmentintheThirdYearofLife # AttachmentRoots #NeufeldParadigm