Kim Golding and Dan Hughes have written quite a few books between them. Those I’ve read are excellent but I have a particular fondness for Creating Loving Attachments.
Dan Hughes is a well known clinician amongst psychologists. He specialises in working with children who have been neglected and abused, who no longer live with their birth families. He is the man behind Development Dyadic Practice: an approach designed and used to help children form safe attachments with new parents or foster carers and work through their traumatic experiences. Kim specialises in Children in Care and Adoption, and has written widely on her work with children and families. The thinking for this book rests on the principles of attachment relationships and how to help abused and traumatised children develop safe and loving attachments.
Creating Loving Attachments focuses on the 4 main factors essential to forming a safe relationship for children who haven’t had their needs met by their own parents. These are Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy, or PACE for short.
For those who don’t know what PACE is, it’s an parenting attitude. I want to point out that PACE is not a technique. You can’t pick up a book and learn how to do PACE. It’s a way of relating that helps develop secure attachments, but is something feels inherent rather than forced. Over time, with considerable patience, it really works.
In their book Dan and Kim talk about the underlying principles of PACE. This is vital reading. Connecting with a child isn’t about doing something, or saying the right thing. A true, genuine connection is needed for children to benefit and flourish. We can all offer nurture to a child but it needs to feel real and from the heart. Parenting is more than a job.
What I like about Creating Loving Attachments is how Dan and Kim offer lots of detail, examples, and explanations for each part of the PACE attitude. They talk about how to these apply to older and younger children, and why it’s hard for them to trust what their parent or carer is offering them. The issue of shame is also addressed which is excellent as it’s closely related to abusive experiences.
Another thing I like is the section about Love. It can be hard to love and connect with a child who has been traumatised. They will often act out and repeat their trauma with others. It’s nothing short of heartbreaking. Dan and Kim talk about love being the essential ingredient that brings happiness and connection between parent/carer and child. There is a need to link the head with the heart, particularly where traumatised children are concerned. Using behavioural techniques won’t be enough, if anything it may feed feelings of shame and rejection.
You don’t have to be a clinicianor looking after a child in the care system to get something from this book. The main features discussed for the development of a safe and secure attachment apply to all parent-child relationships. What this book points out is how much more adopted children and children in care need. This book with help you think about and connect with you child, and that’s why I like it so much. If you would like more information on attachment styles, you can find it here.