Hope For The Journey

Attachment: A
Parent's Guide to
Securely Relating
to Their Children


Parenting is one of the most rewarding and challenging tasks one can undertake. However, parenting a child with a mental illness or behavioral issue can make the experience even more complex. As a parent of such a child, it is essential to approach parenting from a position of secure relating. This means connecting with your child in a way that promotes trust, respect, and positive relationships. In this blog post, we’ll explore what it means to parent from a secure relating position and how you can achieve it with your child.


What is Secure Relating?

You’ve heard of secure attachment, but what is secure relating? Secure relating is built on your ability to “get” what your child is going through (also called empathic attunement), always assuming the best of them (or unconditional positive regard), and authenticity. 

Another way of thinking about empathic attunement is the ability to understand and relate to your child’s emotions and experiences. This is different than just picking up that they are anxious or mad or sad. It’s “getting it” or being able to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they feel that way. 

Unconditional positive regard means loving your child unconditionally, regardless of their behaviors or actions. This doesn’t mean that you will always feel happy with your child. But instead that even when you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated with your child, you assume they are doing the best they can and you show patience, understanding, and care. 

Authenticity means being genuine and true to yourself, while equally being present with your child.


Secure Relating Requires Creating a Safe and Stable Environment.

It’s crucial to create a safe and stable environment for your child, especially if they have a mental illness or behavioral issue. You can do this by ensuring your child has a consistent routine, providing them with predictability and structure. Also, creating a space where your child feels heard and welcomed, can make them feel safe and supported. This can be achieved through active listening, validating their emotions, and supporting your child in creating a sense of self.


Secure Relating Requires Communicating Openly and Honestly.

Communication is key to building and maintaining positive relationships. As a parent, it’s essential to communicate with your child openly and honestly, even when it’s difficult. Regularly checking in with your child and providing them with opportunities to express their thoughts/feelings can help strengthen the relationship. It’s important to remember that your child’s mental health and well-being are paramount, and communication can go a long way in supporting their growth.


Secure Relating Requires Responding to Your Child’s Needs.

Children with mental illnesses or behavioral issues have unique needs that require a different style of parenting. As a parent, you must recognize your child’s needs and respond accordingly. This may mean providing more structure or delegating more responsibilities to them. You should also explore various support services that can help you provide the best care for your child. You can seek support from family, friends, mental health professionals, and community resources.


Secure Relating Requires Practicing Self-Care. 

As a parent of a child with mental illness, it can be stressful and overwhelming. However, taking care of your emotional and physical well-being is crucial for parenting from a secure relating position. Practicing self-care can mean different things for different people, some suggestions include taking time to relax, engaging in activities you enjoy, maintaining a support network, and seeking professional help when needed. 

This is hands-down the most neglected part of parenting. It can be easy to spend all our time and energy worrying about our children. The reality, though, is that the more balanced, healthy, and well we are as parents, the more we can show up in a securely relating way for our children. 



Parenting from a secure relating position requires self-reflection, patience, and a willingness to grow and learn. Creating a safe and stable environment, communicating effectively, and responding to your child’s needs can build more positive relationships with your child. Remember to also take care of yourself; a happy, healthy parent is vital to the well-being of their child. Remember, parenting is a journey, and you are not alone. Seeking support, understanding the foundations of secure relating, and practicing these principles, can lead to a more secure, positive, and rewarding relationship with your child.


If you are needing help connecting with your child and would like to learn tools to better support their mental health….we are here to help.

Our team of caring therapists are ready to help you and your child with your healing journeys. Our highly skilled clinicians will welcome you with warmth and understanding. To start therapy with Hope For the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Hope for the Journey
  2. Meet with acaring therapist
  3. Begin to Feel, Heal & Thrive!

Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

Our team is happy to offer a number of services from our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depressiondomestic violencesexual assaultPTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adultschildren and tweenscouplesmen, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement!

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