Yesterday we explored the first, most simple way that babies attach to their caregivers during their first year of life–through being physically close to them. For so many of us, our understanding of how attachment works ends here. But there are more, deeper, more vulnerable modes of attaching that are important for us as parents to understand if we wish to cultivate deep relationship with our children. Let’s look at the second “attachment root” today.
During the second year of life, if all is going well, toddlers develop the capacity to attach through the attachment root of Sameness. They feel connected to their caregivers through ways that they feel ‘the same’ as them.
This deepening capacity for attachment accounts for so many of the common milestones that develop during the second year of life: walking, eating, talking and, for some, beginning toilet training ( or at least wanting to sit on the potty).
As children are able to attach more and more deeply, the previous modes of attaching do not go away. Rather, the deeper levels get layered on top of them. So our 18-month old still gets their ‘attachment well’ filled through hugs, kisses and snuggles, but they also need us to provide more ways of attaching through bringing our attention to the ways they are the same as us: “We both LOVE apples, don’t we?” or “You and Papa are both such good workers in the yard!”