Bonsie was thrilled for the opportunity to chat it up with Maine-based Child & Family Therapists: Tara McDonald, LCSW & Nikki Betts, LCSW. Both Tara and Nikki are moms, friends and therapists working hard to manage the demands of their busy careers, along with the needs of their young families.
What do you want new parents to know about attachment?
“The most important thing to understand about attachment is that your attachment history will guide your adult attachment relationships. If there are attachment wounds, it is important to identify and heal them so that you may participate in a healthy, flexible and attuned relationship with your child.”
What advice would you give new parents, raising infants during the pandemic.
“We were never meant to parent in isolation. It is important to adjust our expectations of ourselves, our partners and our children in order to maneuver this pandemic. Find safe ways to connect with others so that you know you are not alone.”
What suggestions do you have for parents regarding how they can manage the demands of parenting with their own mental health and personal needs?
“Taking care of yourself is always easier said than done. Consciously decide what supports you need and commit to making those a priority. You can not pour from an empty cup. Your needs will become a priority even if you don’t prioritize them.”
In your work, how has the pandemic strengthened or threatened parent/child attachment.
“Stress. Increased stress on families has resulted in significant disruptions to regular family routines. As a result, both children and caregivers are being asked to adjust in ways that are often not manageable. This can certainly impact the caregiver/child relationship.”
Do you have any resources to share that would be helpful to new parents?
“Yes! We are so excited to share our new parenting resource. It’s been impossible for us (as therapists) to meet the ever growing need for clinical supports in our community during this pandemic. This has led us to envision supporting families in a larger context with our new business, Whole Child Education Maine. We plan to offer live, online training for parents, caregivers and educators, beginning next month. We have also started an Instagram page @wholechild.me which will offer practical parenting information grounded in neuroscience. We’re so happy that Bonsie and Whole Child Education Maine align in their philosophy of early attuned parenting.
Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with us, Tara and Nikki. Parenting is such an amazing journey that provides our lives with so much meaning and joy, but can also be really, really hard. As parents, we bring our own baggage to the relationships we develop with our little ones, both good and bad. Parenting can be messy and complicated! It's nice to know there are professionals out there to support us through this journey.
Always with love,