My child is not giving me a hard time, my child is having a hard time.

To fully engage with a child within a deep and meaningful, trusting relationship is one of the fundamental foundations for creating secure attachments. Engagement is essential for all children but is particularly useful for children who are very rigid or withdrawn, or those children who have a need to ‘be in charge’. The goal of engagement is to make the child feel ‘seen’ and ‘felt’ and to show them that surprises can be fun. For a child to feel able to ‘let go’ and explore within a relationship they must feel an attuned connection with their parent/care provider.

Children who have experienced trauma, may feel anxious and/or fearful and therefore find it difficult to join the synchronicity of relationships. Engaging socially and feeling safe, helps this process along the way. When children feel engaged and connected with a loving other, they can then begin to explore experiences with others. Engagement helps parents or care providers and their children to experience reciprocal enjoyment with one another, helping to find joy in relationships. To be engaged is a process of being attuned and responsive to the child’s states and non verbal cues. By being attuned to the child, parents can help to emotionally and physically regulate their child’s mood/affect.

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