The Chedva Beat: You have indicated that “knowing the roots will help us to see the fruits.” Please describe the Six Attachment Roots.
Shoshana: The six roots of attachment were revealed by Dr. Gordon Neufeld, as he put the pieces of the attachment puzzle together through his years of research and practice. These roots develop during the first six years of a child’s life, in a certain order. If they somehow fail to develop during this time, they can be cultivated at any time in a person’s life, in any order. The first root is through the senses. Babies during their first year of life hold on to their parents through seeing them, hearing their voices, feeling their touch, smelling them and tasting the food they are fed (breastfeeding provides all of these). In the second year, children become mobile and have a venturing-forth kind of energy. In order to stay close to their parents, nature provides a second root – sameness. This is when you see your child imitating you. He also wants to play with your belongings – your hat, shoes, keys, cellphone, glasses, etc. If he holds your cellphone, he is holding on to you! This is the key to learning language, as the child imitates his parent’s speech. However, by the third year, he develops a third root – belonging. Since the child needs more room to express his growing individuality, he can remain close to you when he is not the same as you by possessing you. You are now “my mommy” or “my daddy.” On the heels of belonging comes loyalty. This is when you hear your child say, “My daddy is the strongest” or “my mommy knows the most.” He will now do your bidding and do his best to please you. This still doesn’t leave enough room for the child’s own thoughts and ideas, so nature comes to provide a fourth root – significance. The child needs to feel that he matters to you, that he is special in your eyes, that he is important to you. “Mommy, look at me!” “Daddy, see what I can do!” are familiar expressions of seeking to matter at the age of four. Now even if he doesn’t agree with you, he is special to you. If all goes well, the fifth root will develop at the age of five – love. The child falls in love with you. He gives you his heart. He draws hearts and flowers for you; he wants to marry you and live with you forever. We must cherish this and realize that we have a great responsibility to protect his soft heart. The last root is to be celebrated – being known. Now the child wants to share with you all that he has in his heart. He wants to tell you his secrets. This creates psychological intimacy. These six roots need tending and cultivating for the rest of our lives. This is the key to giving the child the secure base he needs, the womb, in which he can develop and become the fully mature and wonderful individual that he potentially is. Children grow older, but growing up is not guaranteed. If we are mindful of tending these six roots for all the years our children need our guidance and understanding, they have the best chance of truly growing up. And then their connection to us becomes eternal. The child is both deeply attached and truly unique and individual. For more insight into this miraculous process, you are invited to read Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s book, “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Matter More than Peers,” and to attend his fascinating course, “Power to Parent: The Vital Connection, Helping Children Grow Up, and Common Challenges” – a three-part series for parents of children of all ages. Dr. Neufeld’s website is www.gordonneufeld.com. As a faculty member and faculty adviser of the institute, I provider lectures, courses, training programs and supervision of Dr. Neufeld’s work in Israel. I can be reached through our website www.lifecenter.org.il or by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org