The Circle of Security® and the Good Enough Parent

The Circle of Security® is founded on attachment research and based on the belief that a secure relationship between a child and their caregiver is necessary for a child’s lifelong well-being. Every child is born with the innate desire to have a secure and safe relationship with their caregiver. When a caregiver is attuned to the needs of their child, the child learns to trust their caregiver as a source of love, support, safety, nurturance, and acceptance. This does not mean that as a caregiver you have to be the Perfect Parent who is always attuned to your child’s needs and makes the right calls 100% of the time…that is not realistic. Research has shown that being attuned to your child’s needs 20%-30% of the time and repairing the relationship after times when you have not, is the target goal for fostering a secure relationship (Tronick & Beeghly, 2011). Strive to be the Good Enough Parent NOT the Perfect Parent.

What is a Good Enough Parent?

Being a Good Enough Parent is realistic parenting! The Good Enough Parent is a caregiver who is interested in their child, available for their child, and worried for their child when needed. The Good Enough Parent understands that there may be times when they are not attuned to (in-sync with) their child and is mindful of repairing the relationship with their child when this occurs (getting back in-sync).

So What Does Attunement Mean?

Being attuned to your child means being in-sync with their emotional and physical needs. This includes: providing basic physical needs, listening to your child, empathizing with them, accepting their feelings, being present, identifying when they are in need of support, love, attention, understanding that there may be times when they are not their best selves, staying calm and collected when in heated situations, and having fun with them!

How can I Repair the Relationship If We Get Out of Sync?

Apologize and talk with your child when you are both in a calmer state. Make an attempt to attune to the need that you were not fully attuned to. Attune to their current need.

Will My Child Be Insecurely Attached if I Am Out of Sync with Them?

As stated earlier, the Good Enough Parent may have times where they miss opportunities for accurate attunement. Children are resilient! If you are attuned to (in-sync with) their needs 20%-30% of the time, and work to repair the relationship when out of sync, your child will understand that “my parent is not always like this” and will see the effort you are making to become attuned again.

I Want to Learn More!

You can read—Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore (Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper, and Bert Bowell).

For more information on the Circle of Security® you can visit their website at