Is There Still Hope For Secure Attachment?

stockvault-happy-family124699Does our ability to show our children love and affection have long-term effects on their wellbeing? An ABC News article released earlier last week suggests that 40% of infants born in the US form insecure attachments with their caregivers. Unfortunately those first experiences will shape their adult relationships.

The basic premise of the Princeton study being discussed in the article, is that children who grow up in fear and distrust of their parents ability to meet their needs, adopt traits such as aggression, defiance and hyperactivity. According to the study, roughly 25% of children didn’t bond with their parents because their physical and emotional needs were not getting met, and another 15% avoided bonding with their parents as they found it “too distressing”.

There are various reasons why an attachment between a child and its caregiver might not develop securely. We have all experienced difficult times in life where our emotional ability to cope is challenged. Circumstances such as the loss of a loved one, abuse or trauma, depression, or even poverty, are all factors that contribute to the development of an insecure bond between a mother (or other primary caregiver) and their baby. All of these factors impact the caregiver’s emotional and physical ability to be completely present and in tune with their child’s needs.

Does this mean that insecurely attached infants are destined to have insecure and dysfunctional relationships throughout life? Sophie Moullin, the lead researcher in the Princeton study, said that these patterns could be overcome.

Did you hear that all you parents out there? They can be overcome! It is never too late to begin modeling secure attachment for your children. Attachment is most malleable from birth to six month old, but it can still be influenced in the toddler years. The best thing that parents can do is educate themselves on what constitutes a secure attachment, and try their best to model those traits in their relationship with their child. Learning to be in tune with your children’s needs and how to respond appropriately will drastically change their behaviour and foster a stronger relationship dynamic.

On the other hand, if you are like me and your parents were educated in the school of life rather than attachment research, there is still hope! Science is revealing all kinds of ways to help us work towards secure attachment in our interpersonal and romantic relationships. The first step is identifying and understanding our attachment style; from there we can better understand our needs in relationships. For more on attachment styles and how to build secure relationships check out Erica Djossa’s blog, Inspiring Wholehearted Connection and join our Google Hangout this Thursday at 10 am PT/ 1:00 pm ET.

By Erica Djossa, B.A., M.A.

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What’s Your Attachment Style?

SONY DSCWe call fondly call each other “baby” when we enter a new relationship, but we are often completely unaware of how our own infant relationships to our parents can influence the way we trust romantic partners as adults. “Attachment parenting” has become a buzz word among new parents. But attachment as adults is rarely discussed

This week on Wine with Dr. Wendy we will be digging into the juicy aspects of psychology as we discuss Attachment Theory, and how infant bonding with our parents can affect our relationships into adulthood. We will briefly go over how someone can identify their own attachment style, and will give tips for dealing with partners who may attach differently than yourself. Joining me will be Dr. Sue Johnson, clinical psychologist, researcher, professor, and primary developer of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), as well as author of the recent book Love Sense. Also joining me will be hangout producer, Laura Hampikian, and the lovely Erica Djossa, B.A., MA, blogger and couples counselor of www.EricaDjossa.com.

This Hangout is Q&A enabled, which means that you can ask questions to me and the guests before the Hangout and even LIVE during the Broadcast.

If you have a Google+ page, you can participate in the event here. Don’t have Google+ Watch the broadcast from the steam below, or head over to YouTube.

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FOR SINGLES: Three good reasons to have casual sex tonight

stockvault-plastic-letters---sex107912You might think that having sex just for sex’s sake is always a personal choice. But there are other factors that make us choose casual sex, and different outcomes of that experience vary depending on our gender. Biologically, casual sex is the great un-equalizer between men and women. Women notoriously face higher rates of depression and lower self-esteem when having recreational sex. However, men who have at least one hookup or more, experience lower depression rates and higher self-esteem.

Recent researchers have gone even further into finding why men and women choose to hook-up. Zhana Vrangalova, Ph. D from Cornell University surveyed 528 Cornell undergraduates at the start and end of their academic year, and gathered data on their mental and physical health, number of sex buddies, demographic factors, and motivations for having casual sex.

Her research found that when hook-ups are self-directed and reflect a person’s values, there was no correlation between engaging in casual sex and negative health consequences. In other words, when the decision to have sex was driven entirely by a person’s own desire, without outside forces influencing their decision, there were no negative consequences. However, when the reason for having sex was driven by outside influences, like pleasing a partner, researchers found that people faced higher depression rates and anxiety, lower self esteem, and even encountered more physical health problems compared to those who did not participate in casual sex.

It comes down to this question: Are you having sex because you want to, or because you are seeking rewards and avoiding punishment? The answer to that question could mean your physical and mental health. Here is a checklist to assess if you are having sex for the right reasons:

The right reasons to have casual sex:

- Wanting to have fun and enjoy the moment
- Feeling it is an experience needed to learn more about your sexuality
- Believing it is a crucial experience one must have in their life

The wrong reasons to have casual sex:

- Needing to please someone else
- Hoping that it could possibly lead to a long-term relationship
- Doing it to make a person feel better about themselves

When it comes to hooking up, trust yourself and be sure that you are making a self-directed decision. Never do it to please your partner, or because you think it’s what everyone else is doing. Lastly, take care of that sexy body, and use protection!

Want to know more about how Casual Sex is affecting today’s dating game?

Check out my video,  Is the Sexual Double Standard Gone?

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FOR COUPLES: Spicing up a long-term relationship

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American culture comes riddled with messages telling us what our sex lives should look like. According to popular television shows, we should be doing it every night (at least), probably with strangers, and we should be enjoying it. That puts a lot of pressure on long-term monogamous couples who may be looking for ways to spice up their relationship.

There are three pieces of advice I give to couples in long-term relationships. 1. Don’t be afraid to schedule sex. 2. Try it in a new location. 3. Take it out of the family jewels, and get back to the extremities. Need more details? Watch my video with Six Questions below.

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What to Do and What NOT to Do on a First Date

Couple On Date with WineFirst dates can put most of the population into a nervous wreck. Thoughts like “What should I wear? Is my body language confident? Did I say the wrong thing? Should we kiss?” can sometimes torture a dopamine-flooded brain. First dates are filled with so many cultural nuances that it can feel daunting to make the right move.

But there’s good news. This Wednesday, matchmaker/dating coach, Carmelia Ray, and comedian, media personality (and hot, single guy) David Doerre, will be joining Hangout producer, Laura Hampikian, and I to set the record straight and discuss what to do, and what not to do on a first date. Join us on Wednesday night from 8:00-8:30 pm PT for the latest episode of Wine with Dr. Wendy.

If you have a Google+ page, you can participate in the event here. Don’t have Google+? Watch the broadcast from the steam below!

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