Circle of Security

With the Circle of Security program having been established for over 50 years, its success perhaps can be attributed to its gentle and natural parenting approach.  The focus is different to other parenting programmes in that it focuses on the needs of the child and the reason behind the behaviour rather than disciplining the child or ignoring the child.  It is founded in the areas of attachment parenting and aims to enhance the security between a parent and a child.

I am asked quite often what the Circle of Security is, and it can be summed up by looking at the relationship between parent and child as a circle.  On the top of the circle is the child’s need to explore.  At the bottom of the circle is the child’s need to be protected.  The parent is at both the top and the bottom of the circle, guiding the child out to explore and allowing the child to come back in when they feel scared or need comforting.

The program helps parents see the different needs that come with the reaction of your child.  For example, your child may be having a tantrum but is this because they are frustrated with a toy or is it because they are afraid?  Rather than jump to discipline with a time out or with One Two Three Magic, the Circle of Security program aims to find out the reason behind this tantrum and what the child needs.  The way you react to them will depend on the reasons behind their behaviour.  For example, if your son hits his sister, is it because he is being purposely mean or is it because he is upset and needs your reassurance for something?  If it is the former then discipline may be in order but if it is the latter, then your child will learn how to organize these feelings by talking to him about it and letting him know that you are there.

Another element that the Circle of Security program addresses is the need for a parent to help a child identify their feelings.  The program encourages that a child should be allowed to be angry, upset or sad but that a parent should be there and help them understand why they are experiencing this rather than trying to repress these emotions.

The COS program focuses on the idea that helping a child through interactive play, attention and learning to understand the different cues that your child gives you, will help strengthen the relationship and eventually will lead to a child that feels confident and secure to explore on his own, knowing that you will always be there.

So, how do you ascertain if this program is right for you?  If your parenting style swings toward a more attachment bases parenting – then Circle of Security will be a perfect fit for you.  The Circle of Security program recognises that you cannot always do what the child wants or what he needs, especially as this can lead to dangerous situations.  COS advises parents to always take charge when necessary and to be wiser, bigger, stronger and kind as much as you possibly can whilst remembering that “Good Enough” parenting is more reasonable than parenting with guilt.

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