Welcome to day 4 of our journey down the attachment roots! The attachment root that we will explore today is where things can “go off the rails” as one of my colleagues at the Neufeld Institute describes it. This means that we are now getting into much more vulnerable territory than we have been in with the first three roots of Sense, Sameness and Belonging/Loyalty.

In the fourth year of life the capacity to attach through ‘feeling significant to’ opens up. This is risky territory because if a child seeks to be special to us, they risk feeling not special. For some children (and adults!) the risk is simply too much and they stay relatively superficially attached. For others it may take a long time of warmly, consistently and gently getting the message that they are special to their dad (or mom, or grandpa or teacher) for them to unfurl this most vulnerable root thread.

Sending our children that they are so special to us simply because they are is the essence of this mode of attachment. Significance is not hitched to anything: not the way the look, not the way they behave, not their intelligence, not their kindness to their little brother. It is unearned and everlasting. That is the essence of attachment at the level of significance: You are special to me because you are.