Circle of Security Works!

You are right: ending a sentence with an exclamation point is not longer considered acceptable.  The words the I choose should express my excitement, so I will use some more to explain.

Last week I watched my three granddaughters ages six, four and 20 months while their mom was in the hospital having their baby brother.  I had taken care of them many times, but this time was different.  First, I had thought that adults were suppose to entertain children every waking hour, which is exhausting and frustrating—kids don’t always want to be entertained. Second I was concerned that they would feel insecure because their mom was in the hospital for four days and their baby brother was rearranging their family.  

Since my three children have come and gone and two of them have children of their own, I have learned about Circle of Security Parenting, CoSP, which helps parents foster attachment, resilience, and self-confidence in their children.  Because children don’t come with an instruction manual, CoSP’s philosophy is that they are the manual.  They will let you know when they want to explore and when they need comforting, when they want to celebrate and when they need calming.  

You can think of CoSP as a circle that you hold and your children are on moving away from you to explore and back to you for reassurance.    With this in mind, last week I wanted to give my granddaughters the reassurance that we were connected and the opportunity to explore without my interfering.

We read books together.  In fact we found three new books that we love, What Do You Do with a Problem? What Do You Do with a Chance? And What Do You Do with an Idea?

We went to the park.  I watched the six-year-old climb the rock wall and swing across the monkey bars as I swung her youngest sister.  When the four-year-old wanted to follow her older sister, I helped her reach from bar to bar, and when she got tangled in the rope ladder, I coached her down. 

Instead of battling them for time to do what I needed to do, I found that often they were content playing on their own and came to me only when they needed me, which usually was only for a few moments and then they were off again.

Part of CoSP is knowing when to help and when not to help.  I clapped when the oldest reached the top of the rock wall and turned to me to share her joy.  Once the youngest ran to me and raised her arms for me to pick her up.  As soon as she was up, she wanted down, ready to explore more.  All in all, we had a great week.  No tears and only a few tantrums when everyone wanted the same toy or it was time to go.  I will add that I did pray that things would go well, and I know that that made a big difference, as well as a healthier approach on my part to being with them. 

CoSP is not a panacea.  Children still will get upset and you still will get frustrated, but though CoSP you gain insight into everyone’s behavior and learn new ways to manage everyone’s distress.  There are situations when you have to take control because your child is in danger or you have to get to daycare, school and work etc. 

Circle of Security Parenting’s philosophy can be summed up in 25 words or less:

Parents are “Always be BIGGER, STRONGER, WISER and KIND.  Whenever possible follow your child’s needs.  Whenever necessary take charge.” To learn more about Circle of Security Parenting read Raising a Secure Child by Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper and Bert Powell, or visit their website

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