At the 2023 Sky is the Limit event for Girls and their Mentors, Laura speaks to Moms and Caregivers about how they can foster the internal framework for healthy relationships at home.
Learning how to identify healthy vs. toxic relationships starts at home where we learn how we should be treated. Our parents and caregivers teach us what to expect from the people who love us now, and who we will seek to connect with in the future. If we can all give our kids predictable attunement and safety in childhood, then they will have the template and self-esteem necessary to ensure that the people in their lives respect their boundaries, and accept them for who they are.
Laura Wood, Licensed Professional Counselor, specializes in attachment trauma and parent-child relationships along with other forms of complex trauma and dissociation. She discusses how our brain and body respond to the need for attachment and safety in our relationships and how unmet needs can become lifelong traumatic re-enactments that impair our ability to connect with ourselves, the world around us, and others.
Our internal defense system is the opposite of our social engagement system, so the more safety we experience in childhood, the more stability we will have in adulthood. When we know and understand what safe relationships look like, we are much more capable of recognizing it and accepting love and connection later in life, rather than defending against connection and second-guessing ourselves when we feel like something is off.
Children with attachment and developmental trauma are more likely to get into abusive relationships, and be manipulated by the people around them because they didn’t achieve an adequate level of relational safety growing up. They are less likely to understand when someone is offering true kindness vs. taking advantage for their own gain.
As the adults in our children’s lives, it’s our responsibility to give them physical and emotional safety so they can learn what they need to be able to keep themselves safe in the future. They all deserve that from us.