Podcast #10: 

Attachment is my absolute favorite topic – because it can change your family!

Today we’re talking about “ambivalent  attachment.”    

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Print this Nurture Notes PDF: Nurture Notes – Dr. Barbara Sorrels – Podcast 10

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Krista and Dr. Barbara

This is part four in our series on attachment.  If you missed our prior episodes, we would encourage you to go back and listen to Episodes 5, 7, and 8 to understand what we mean by attachment, what secure attachment looks like.

What are the Characteristics of the parents who are creating an ambivalent child?

Preoccupied and inconsistent

  • Unable to provide the consistency of care children need to thrive
  • Don’t have the emotional resources to consistently meet the needs of the child
  • Often misinterprets the needs of the child and imposes own needs on them
  • Anxious parent
    • insecure in their parenting ability to the point that the baby’s upset only triggers their own anxiety
    • They are unable to soothe the child as they absorb the baby’s dysregulation
  • Preoccupied parent
    • Overwhelmed by life—finances, divorce, 
    • Preoccupied by technology or a job
    • May be holding their child while playing a game on their cell phone or watching TV.
  • Preoccupied with their own needs
    • Role reversal–Look to the child to meet their needs
    • Child feels unprotected
    • Send very mixed messages—sometimes over protective and at others don’t offer comfort
  • Post-partum depression—inconsistent response—instead of looking into a face of joy and delight looks into the face with no affect

What are the characteristics of The  ambivalent child?

  • Does not soothe in the presence of the parent
  • Cries more at one year of age
  • Exaggerated emotion because never sure of attachment figure will respond
  • Child throws temper tantrums
  • Child is  both demanding and clingy—when mom leaves never sure he will get her back so come unglued when she leaves
  • Hard to please—nothing is ever right
  • Wants to be center of attention—tattles, becomes class clown
  • Predicts being the victim of a bully
  • Predicts addictive behaviors
  • Struggles in relationships with peers—wants things their way, on their terms


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New book for parents!

Nurturing Healthy Attachment: Building Parent-Child Connections to Last a Lifetime

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I just returned from leading a wonderful two-day program, (see below) where I helped teachers and childcare workers understand how to help children who have experienced trauma.

If your community or church would like to host a seminar on trauma, parenting, or any other child development topic, please contact me and let’s discuss.

Continuing education credit is available for some topics. 



Order my new book, Nurturing Healthy Attachment!

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