“Acquiring Signal”: The Importance of Re-attunement in Relationships.

May 27, 2017  |   Articles,Workshop News

In fall 2016, Monique Gougeon and Patti Sutherland published an article in the magazine Child Care Bridges – a publication of The Manitoba Child Care Association – about “The Importance of Re-attunement in Relationships.”

In the article, they compare a car stereo system’s ability to navigate a glitch with a child’s ability to manage their stress. “In order to make sense of what is going on, particularly when under stress, a child’s system must first join with another system – their caregiver’s.”

Article excerpt: 

“Children require their caregiver to recognize, acknowledge and help them manage their internal and external experiences, which is referred to as Attunement and occurs when the caregiver perceives, makes sense and responds in a timely and effective manner to the actual moment-to-moment signals sent by a child.

“Children’s signals, or cues, may not be clear and may be indirect, confusing, misleading, and at times downright messy. Dismissing or ignoring these cues and miscues  often leads to emotional and behavioral problems that can have long-term consequences.

“As caregivers we are constantly in a state of “acquiring signal”. Following the more attuned path sometimes requires us to pause and address the child’s underlying feelings and needs. Anger is often anxiety or fear, “I don’t care” is often sadness, and the inability to take responsibility is often shame.

“Through reflecting and organizing these feelings for children our connection with them grows as does their confidence that when things go wrong, with some help from a caring adult, they can go right again.

“When care providers take the time to ask themselves what is really happening they can then tune into what best fits the child’s needs. We connect and calm their systems and organize their emotions that are too big for them to handle alone. Recognizing the miscue, looking for the real cues and tuning into their true feelings and needs assists children to feel understood and secure.”

Monique and Patti provide a seminar called 3Rs: Relationship, Relationship, Relationship. The seminar is available throughout the year or you can request a personalized 3Rs seminar at a time convenient for you.

The seminar is for:

  • Adults directly involved in planning for and supporting students, including resource teachers, guidance counselors, and educational assistants who work one-on-one with children receiving special-needs funding due to emotional and behavioral concerns.
  • Multi-disciplinary support staff, including social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists.

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