Parenting is a never-ending skill that is always developing. As your child grows older, they will test their boundaries and learn to walk, talk, run, and interact with others. You've provided them with a safe and caring environment, but now others are starting to come into the picture.
As they grow older, your child can be faced with going to preschool and sharing with other students. Daycare teachers and separation for hours at a time can present an interesting array of emotions from you and your child.
Healthy Attachment is Necessary
It is healthy for you both to feel emotionally attached to each other. This is the feeling that you have to be near them, protect them, and provide for them. It keeps your child seeking you for safety and love, and it allows you to provide for them even when you're exhausted. Attachment comes with the benefit of being chosen by your child as the person they want to be near most.
This is why it can pull on your heartstrings to separate yourself from your child for short times at school and during play time.
While it feels good to know you are your child's favorite person in the world, they must branch out and experience the world without you being at their side constantly. Developing a healthy attachment that allows for short-term separate activities will develop strong self-reliance and social growth. This can be extremely beneficial for you both, as you need time for self-care, too.
When your child has a healthy attachment to you, they feel secure in knowing you're there at home awaiting their return. They are reassured that a safe place exists where they are loved and protected. This allows them to explore their daycare, neighborhood, and other children while feeling confident that their "happy place" still exists with their loving parent at home.
Connecting to Others
As your child grows and ages, this healthy attachment and knowledge of your constant support will promote exploration with school activities, hobbies, and sports. Knowing a parent will continually be there is essential to developing a strong sense of self. When they have a solid foundation, they can stretch their boundaries, try out new interests, and make new friends.
How to Stay Involved and Relevant
Healthy attachments means you and your child rely upon the knowledge that you're there when you're needed. As your child grows and experiences new things, they will turn to you for explanations, to sort through emotional turmoil, and to guide them through life's challenges.
Always check in with your child.
Listen closely to them and never ignore their expressed concerns.
Find the root problem or need in the message.
Make a plan to have a "date night" or play date to stay connected.
Reach out to other parents if you stumble on a challenging event.
Reconnect with your child by participating in their favorite things.
Healthy attachments between parents and children are necessary, and when nurtured properly, they can last a lifetime with many benefits. Engage with your child but allow them to develop their own identity, opinions, and hobbies. The reward will come when you watch your child flourish authentically on their own but always return to you for paternal love and support they will find nowhere else.