Parents are the true Grandmaster Yodas of the Universe. Parents are charged with the most trying and important job of raising future generations of Grandmaster Yodas. I’m sure we can all agree that being a parent (and parenting) is important, but what makes it the most important job in the Universe beside ensuring survival of our species? While parenting is one key ingredient, it’s just as equally important to have a grasp on the foundations of what children need from their parents during infancy to ensure that you are raising the most emotionally and psychologically grounded Yodas.
Children’s early relationship with their parents are the most important predictors of their future personality development. There is an abundance of literature that reflects this. This is rooted in Attachment Theory (the theorist’s name is John Bowlby- just in case you want to do some additional research on your own). Let’s start from infancy to get an in-depth explanation of secure attachment and why this is so important to understand as Grandmaster Yodas.
During infancy, babies attend to and react to their parent’s tone of voice, movement and facial expressions, and are examples of emotional communication that are believed to be the very beginning of establishing a secure attachment bond. There have been many studies that have shown newborns prefer to gaze into their parent’s eyes while being fed. One purpose of this early tendency is likely to establish bonding with the parents. The experience of the non-verbal emotions through the observation of facial expressions, hearing vocal intonations, or watching body language is instinctive. Infant research indicates that a parent and infant can detect and react to emotional and physical changes in the other in as little as a fraction of a second!
By 7-9 months of age, a baby begins to direct attachment behaviors selectively toward a parent figure in times of distress. During this time is also when the infant internalizes socio-emotional leaning, resulting in emotional security.
By 12 months of age, a baby can intuitively sort out who is emotionally dependable and how. As children age and require less dependability from their parents, they continue to turn to their attachment figure when in distress and when facing challenges. Access to a secure base is developmentally significant because one of the infant’s core developmental tasks involves mastering their environment. So, it is paramount that parents allow children to explore independently within reason, while ensuring that your child feels secure in knowing that you will be there to catch them if they were to fall. This enables your child to feel a sense of competence within themselves (“I can do it”) and their environment, and that that you will encourage them to try again until they are successful. Being that secure base for your child indicates to your child that you are dependable and safe, and that you will be there with open arms and a tissue to wipe their tears and tell them, “it’s okay” if they fail again.
Through these experiences, children develop internal representations (internal working models) of the care and protection they have received from you as their parent. An internal working model is a fancy term to describe the internal process a child experiences because of their external attachment experiences with you. Essentially, it is the child’s view of how the physical world may be expected to behave; how their parents and other significant people may be expected to behave; how the child may expect themselves to behave, and how each interacts with the other.
Dependent upon whether the child’s parent was consistently affectionate, stable and protective determines the outcome of the child’s attachment pattern. Providing secure attachment with your child is the vital determinant of how your child will grow up to feel about themselves and how they will interact with others. This what makes you as parents the Grandmaster Yodas of the Universe.