“This is My Life’s Work”

September 22, 2011 at 5:52 am (Attachment Parenting)

The training I attended last weekend with Gordon Neufeld (author of Hold On to Your Kids) was called “The Attachment Puzzle; Putting the Pieces Together.” It was 16 hours of intense summary of decades of Dr. Neufeld’s work; he has been ‘putting the pieces together’ for 40 years.  He has made it his life’s work to learn more about what it means to be attached to someone, how it happens, and how some level of attachment is infused into every relationship we have in our lives. Attachment really is everything.

Here are some of Dr. Neufeld’s most memorable quotes from the lecture. I would like to expand on all of them and put them in context, but  that would take about 16 hours.  For now, here are the highlights.

  • You are your child’s compass.  You don’t have to know where you’re going, but when a child is attached to you, he doesn’t feel lost.
  • We’re studying with our heads, but attachment is all about heart.  Attachment is the scientific term to talk about the heart.
  • A house can be any structure anywhere, but home is a place of attachment.
  • It is possible for children to feel more at home at school than their own house because of where their attachment lies; because their teacher has their heart.
  • We are preoccupied with the idea of how to get children to be good, but we’ve forgotten where it comes from (an attached relationship).
  • Nature has provided us everything we need to do our jobs as parents and teachers.  We don’t need tricks, trinkets or consequences to manipulate kids, but only the belief and confidence in being a nurturer.
  • Work at attachment and let attachment work for you.
  • Being a good child or a good student isn’t in the nature of the child, it’s in the nature of the relationship.
  • Children are neither inherently good or bad, they are both.  They only feel like being good for those to whom they are attached.
  • The most important thing to understand about attachment is that parents don’t need to have the answers for their children, they need to be the answer for their children.

Whether or not we’re always conscious of it, I think all parents strive for that deep connection with our kids–to be the answer for our children–and could, on some level, echo Dr. Neufeld’s opening statement last weekend: “This is my life’s work.” I know it is mine.

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