At the foundation of Tweddles work with families is the concept of attachment, which refers to the emotional relationships we have with other people.
An infant’s early attachment to his or her primary caregiver provides the foundation for future emotional relationships. It also provides the base for other learning, because babies and children learn best when they feel safe, calm, protected and nurtured by caregivers.
Children who have experienced insecure or anxious attachments may have more difficulties regulating their emotions and showing empathy for others’ feelings (Applegate & Shapiro 2005).
These children may have difficulties forming attachments later in life as well.
A parent with multiple complex needs may experience difficulty responding to their child’s needs.
Parental behaviours might include anxiety, irritability, anger, hostility, violence, emotional unavailability, harsh or ineffective discipline practices and fearfulness.
Exposure to trauma (such as abuse, neglect or family violence) affects every dimension of an infant’s psychological functioning such as emotional regulation, behaviour, response to stress and interaction with others (Perry 2002).
The ACE studies found that the more stress experienced during childhood, the more adverse the health and behavioural outcomes for the child.
Researchers have found that attachment patterns established early in life can lead to a number of outcomes. For example, children who are securely attached as infants tend to develop stronger self-esteem and better self-reliance as they grow older. These children also tend to be more resilient, independent, perform better in school, have successful social relationships, and experience less depression and anxiety.
Tweddle staff know the impact of stress and vulnerability on parenting capacity and are skilled in encouraging and promoting parent-child communication and interaction to ensure safe and healthy attachment and positive outcomes for parents, babies, children and the family.