Learning to Attune to Your Child


Learn to attune to your child, although these words were written for early childhood, they can be applied to any child – and adult, since we know that “as we stress we regress” acting “like a child” is not just meant for kids. Even we parents at times may act like a child, as do our older children and even young adult children. Discern the oxytocin parenting principles and apply generously and leisurely as needed. Learning to attune is an essential ingredient to parenting, and especially to our children who are much less predictable due to trauma histories. — David Durovy

Learn to Attune to Your Children

Learn to attune yourself to the non-verbal cues that your child is beginning to feel overwhelmed. He/she will provide you these cues through facial gestures, body posture, tone of voice, and actions. They may intrude into the personal space of other children, taking things from others, or becoming more clingy and demanding of you. Realize that these behaviors don’t mean they are being mean or unkind. They are simply signals that your child is not managing very well on their own and needs you to help them regulate.

At these times, they may be a little resistant when you move in and redirect them, or pick them up and remove them from a situatio(if that is a safe option). They may fuss, cry, kick and throw a tantrum. Reassure them that they are okay, that you can see they are becoming stressed, and that you want to keep them safe.

Reassure them verbally and take them to a quiet place, then sit down and relax your arms. Don’t fight to hold on to them; instead, give them space to step away from you. By this point they will have already began to experience their oxytocin kicking in again. If they chooses to stay in your arms, that’s great. Otherwise, just stay nearby, continue to breathe and tell them it’s going to be okay. They will begin to respond to you by calming down.

The key to making it through this stage of learning and development is to remember that he/she is responding as much to your state as to what you say. If you are stressed and anxious, this reinforces their current state. If you can breathe and settle yourself, be present and mindful to them, you will engage your children’s entire bodymind system and initiate their oxytocin response.

Choose Love,

— Bryan & Susan

Excerpted from Oxytocin Parenting by Susan Kutchinskas and Bryan Post