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Sensitive parenting


This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar BrianAllen 3 years ago.

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  • #1021

    In the webinar, you mentioned that sensitive parenting facilitates attachment. Can you elaborate a bit on what constitutes sensitive parenting?

  • #1026

    Good question. According to Mary Ainsworth, sensitivity as a broad term involves two aspects: the caregiver understanding and accurately recognizing the signals provided by the child (sensitive) and the caregiver responding to these signals in an appropriate and effective manner (responsive). Caregivers who recognize signals of distress, but for whatever reason can not respond effectively may foster insecurity as the child does not receive effective help when in distress. Similarly, if the caregiver cannot recognize the child’s signals, then s/he will not typically provide the needed help. In a widely cited meta-analysis, De Wolff and van IJzendoorn (1997) calculated an effect size of r = .24 for the relationship between parental sensitivity and attachment security in non-clinical samples. This small-medium effect supports the contention that parental sensitivity is a significant factor in the development of attachment security, but also opens the door for the fact that many other factors are likely at play as well. Of course, different coding schemes may operationally define sensitivity in different ways, but the major ones typically have many similarities. This is why the developed attachment-based interventions in the 0-3 age range emphasize building sensitivity in the caregiver, typically through didactic teaching and direct coaching, and will examine attachment behavior of the child as a primary outcome.

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