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"When we’re talking about unconditional love with lots of grace and warmth, generosity in providing what kids need emotionally, then we cannot give too much of that," says Clinical Director Terry Warburton.
Psychologist Dr. Deborah MacNamara, who works at Recovery of Hope Counselling in Winnipeg, has put together an infographic about some myths about attachment.
Myth #1 - a child can be spoiled with love, or parents can give them too much love.
"If what we do for and with our children has to do with meeting their needs, then we cannot give too much of that. Unconditional love and strong emotional connections are definitely needs," says Warburton.
Myth #2 - a child can be too attached.
"I have often heard this one especially when someone is talking about a child who appears to be clingy and whiny, seeming to find it difficult to let their parent go - whether it’s at school, daycare or a friend’s house. It is impossible to be too attached. Can a tree be too attached to its roots? The stronger the attachment the more resilient the tree is!"
Warburton says that the exception is when a child has a superficial or insecure attachment. This can happen due to experiences of major losses, transitions, and trauma.
Myth #3 - children need strong attachments with friends to develop socially.
"This is simply not true. Children need strong connections with adults primarily. It is within these safe relationships that a child will develop socially and learn to interact and read social cues. Parents must matter more than peers to their children. It’s okay for children to have friends their age, but it must not be at the expense of strong adult connections."
Myth #4 - quality vs quantity time with children.
"Sometimes we use the term 'quality time' to justify our busyness and the lack of time we have spent with our kids. Quality time for a child is when it deeply sinks into them that they are cherished and delighted in. They can tell from the look in their parent’s eyes or the tone of their voice that they matter."
When those quality moments will happen with a child isn't something that can be forced.
"Quality time almost always happens within a quantity of time. So no matter whether it’s quality or quantity, we need to make sure that we as parents are doing the work that helps our kids feel emotionally connected to us and that they deeply matter to us," says Warburton.