Manage episode 274040089 series 2799798
If you’ve ever wondered what kind of a parent you are, and whether your kids are going to wind up spending the equivalent of a college degree in therapy (or maybe they already have), I think you’ll be grateful for my conversation with Bethany Saltman.
Her journey as a mom and her book Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey into the Science of Attachment is a gift to every parent, who like me, has been bombarded by well-intended advice about how to be the best parent in the world. In some ways Bethany is just an average mom. But she’s also a mom that—for much of her life—questioned if her mom ever loved her and in turn, questioned a lot about her own parenting.
Bethany’s a writer, and she became obsessed with a woman named Mary Ainsworth. Really obsessed. Mary Ainsworth was a pioneer in the psychology of child development—she died in 1999. And she came up with a procedure to systematically study how attached a child is to his or her caregiver. This is in the 1960s. Now terms like “secure attached,” "anxious attached," "avoidant attached," are tossed around pretty commonly if you eavesdrop into consultations with child psychologists and counselors. And the key to this diagnostic label is that attachment is, bar-none, the most researched area of psychology. It is bedrock. And it predicts mental illness and stability in adulthood.
According to Saltman, “Attachment is if you can receive your child when the child asks you, in a time of stress. And the way that we are able to do that is that we need to be able to receive ourselves.”
It’s so refreshing to hear Bethany tell us we don’t have to be perfect parents to the best parents for our children and I hope you’ll share it with moms and dads and grandparents and anyone that might ever consider being a parent.