Humans are extraordinarily social creatures. Our social nature is our survival superpower. Other creatures depend on resources like venom or camouflage for protection against survival threats. We humans depend on each other. Our need for relationships is essential, primal and embodied. Everything children require for surviving and flourishing comes via relationships. Without caretakers to provide food, water, shelter and health care, children die. Similarly, when caretakers do not provide skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact, verbal exchanges, social engagement, mentoring, etc., children flounder and languish.  In short, human children are completely dependent on caretaking relationships. When those relationship are absent and/or deficient, children do not survive and/or thrive. However, when those relationships are Plugged-in (e.g. safe, secure & nurturing), children have the most essential ingredient they need for life-long health and well-being.

A plugged-in relationship is the best tool in your parenting toolbox and, hence, the central focus of our parenting approach. No other single factor comes close to the power and impact caretaking relationships have on the lifelong health and well-being of children. Even the wisest, most robust, scientifically validated techniques and strategies have minimal benefit to children when caretaking relationships are not safe, secure and nurturing. Plugging-in to your kids is the single most important thing you can consistently do for them. So, what does a plugged-in relationship look like? 

In short, plugged-in relationships are:

  • Free of threat and harm to children’s bodies, spirts and minds; 
  • Consistently responsive to children’s needs;
  • Brimming with readily available support and guidance for learning, exploration and making sense of emotions and experiences. 

-Susan & Chris

“If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers. Most of the stuff parents do with flashcards and special drills and tutorials to hone their kids into perfect achievement machines don’t have any effect at all. Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads.” 

― David BrooksThe Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement