Just like plants need roots to nourish them, we need to attach to grow.

Cultivating strong relationships with our kids is key so we can: lead and care for them, promote
emotional maturity through relational safety, foster dependence to provide a sense of home,
unlock a child’s caring, and serve as an orienting guide as they go through life.

Raising a child is ultimately about who we are to them and who we become because of caring for
them. Parenthood isn’t a set of skills to be learned as much as seeing ourselves as the answer to their hunger for connection and emotional safety.

We need to make ourselves irreplaceable – a tall order in a world full of competing attachments like screens and their peers.  It has never been more important to hold onto our kids because when we care for their attachment to us, they are freed to feel, rest, play, and grow. We can’t make anyone grow up, but we can create the conditions which fuel growth.


Infographics About Attachment

Four Irreducible Needs for Healthy Development

One of our greatest responsibilities is to create the conditions that allow our children and adolescents to develop and flourish. There are four irreducible needs that must be met if kids are to reach their full human potential: to attach, to feel, to rest, and to play. Using developmental and relational science, and cultural wisdom, we will chart a course towards providing for these needs. 

To attach requires us to develop deep caring relationships that anchor our children to us. Through attachment we create a psychological womb for maturation to occur. It isn’t enough that we love our kids but that they give their hearts to us for safe keeping. 

To feel means we support a child or teen with their emotions so they grow to be caring, socially responsible individuals. We know soft hearts are needed to grow well, overcome adversity, and to become resilient and resourceful. 

To foster rest means we answer our kid’s hunger for connection and need for emotional expression, whether we are supporting sleep, feeding them, or helping them learn. Rest is vital to caring for their body, heart, and mind. 

Creating the conditions for play helps to preserve emotional health and support the development of selfhood. Play is a natural context for deepening relationships and for learning too. 





Helpful infographics to make sense of kids through developmental science.



You are in the driver’s seat. Start making sense of your kids in a new way. 

Sign up for newsletter updates from Dr. MacNamara