By:Esther Tell


This week I reviewed a webinar  presented by Rebecca Doolittle McFalls in “parenting without power struggles and RDI principles.”

In the reviewed webinar, Rebecca talks about different ways to strengthen parent and child attachment.penguins

There are six stages of attachment according to Susan Stiffelman in her book Parenting Without Power Struggles.

  1. Proximity
  2. Sameness
  3. Belonging
  4. Significance
  5. Genuine love
  6. Being known

It is possible to fix the bond between parent and child if any of these stages are interrupted during development.

What can we do to go back and solidify the roots of our attachment?

Proximity/physical closeness

-For a younger child, this could be snuggling. As an active guide, reach out your arms as an invitation for them to walk over and be hugged.

-For older children, simply sitting next to them, allowing them to take comfort in your presence with no added demands.

-For Adolescents, just putting your hand on their shoulder, or a “hey, come hang out with me.” Is a great way to strengthen proximity bonds.


*Try to point out what you have in common. Children often express this by mimicking their parents (e.g. I want to carry a briefcase just like daddy)

-You can practice this at any age simply by pointing out what you have in common.

-For a younger child you can point to your plate at the dinner table and say “hey we are eating the same thing!”

-For your older child ” It is so cool that we are both enjoying this movie.”

 Loyalty and belonging/hearing their needs, taking their side

-Say out loud when they are struggling, “hey I have got your back”

-“I am right here,” (I am the same, and sometimes this is frustrating for me too.)

-Create activities that make them feel competent and part of the family.

Significance/ even when you are not around they are special to you

-Let them know that they are special, their differences make them loveable and unique.

Love and being known

-This is a bi-product of the rest of the attachment systems.

-When the child has a strong attachment foundation ,they will rely on family to guide them.

By acknowledging these principals, parents can work on the strength of present relationships, as well as creating a foundation for future attachments.



This  information was taken from a highlight of a webinar for members of the RDI Learning Community. Please contact us for more information about membership.

 Rebecca Dolittle McFalls M.H.S, OTR/L is an RDI consultant and occupational therapist.To see more of her webinars please contact us to learn about membership to the RDI Learning Community.






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