by Charity Hotton, MFT Associate
Raising children to adulthood is one of the most fulfilling and most challenging things that parents will ever do. Many parents describe their teens as ‘aliens’ or as being unrecognizable from the children they knew. This can be a time of frustration and uncertainty for both parents and their teen children. Attachment-Based Family Therapy can be used to improve connection with children as they make the transition into adulthood.
Attachment-Based Family Therapy can be highly effective in re-centering relationships, helping parents turn toward their children and vice versa. Attachment can be deeply rooted in several specific ways:
1. Physical Closeness and the Five Senses | Doing things together, even if that means you just watching your teen son play a video game.
2. Role-Modeling | Being someone your teen looks up to is incredibly powerful. They are watching you, even if they’re pretending they are not.
3. Belonging and Loyalty | This is reciprocal and can include anything from you advocating for them with a teacher to demonstrations of unconditional love. They need to know you love them, even when they make mistakes.
4. Importance | When your teen knows they are important to you, it creates an emotional connection that runs very deep. Tip: put your cell phone away during dinner and talk to them about what they are doing, what they like, and who is important to them.
5. Understanding | This one can be tough because it takes trust, patience, and time. Be there in those rare moments when they want to talk to you and you will build attachment. One key here is to fight the urge to correct or give advice. In these moments the key is to listen, I mean really listen.
It is rare for teens to become adults without some tension in the relationship. By maintaining a level of trust with your teens you open the door to a strong relationship as they enter adulthood. This is a key time to “pick your battles”, as they say and focus on what is working in your relationship.
Diamond, G., Russon, J., & Levy, S. (2016). Attachment‐Based family therapy: A review of the empirical support. Family Process, 55(3), 595-610. doi:10.1111/famp.12241
Winley, D. M., Ogbaselase, F., Kodish, T., Okunrounmu, E., & Krauthamer Ewing, E. S. (2016). Attachment-Based Family Therapy for Teen Suicidality Complicated by a History of Sexual Trauma. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 37(2), 177–189.
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|