Updated: Nov 18, 2018
Attunement is a process by which people connect with others emotional state, and are able to see other people’s perspectives, then in turn respond sensitively and effectively.
During the early stages of childhood development, the process of attunement takes place as neural pathways in the brain expand and develop into a complex web, integrating across different regions and spheres of the brain. This expansion results in an increased capacity for empathy, self-awareness, ability to cope with stress and the ability to healthily process information.
The part of the brain where this all takes place is known as the hippocampus, this is where the brain manages stress and emotional regulation. The way in which the hippocampus develops healthily is a direct result of that child being in an environment where they are supported and encouraged emotionally by their mothers.
The nourishment that a child receives to that part of their brain results in a child’s ability to regulate their own emotions and manage stress. Studies show that children who are raised in an environment where they are not supported emotionally often struggle with mutual attunement in their interpersonal interactions and relationships.
Furthermore, those children when they mature into adults are unable to maintain healthy marital relationships because they lack the ability to empathize and see the perspective of someone else.
There are four key components to attunement in adult relationships.
The first component is being aware in the present moment.
The second is having a clear perception and being able to take another person’s perspective.
The third is being able to feel what someone else maybe feeling which is called emotional resonance.
The fourth is taking effective action. This is the follow-through of the prior components and is where responding in a way that is caring and sensitive is implemented.
God made mothers uniquely for this role they would play in the emotional and psychological development of their offsprings. It is imperative that this role is not neglected or taken for granted as the impact can be life-changing, long-term and generational.
What we sometimes see when we observe negative patterns of emotional behavior are often a direct result of irresponsible mothering. If you are experiencing difficulties in connecting with your child emotionally, or perhaps you feel you can benefit from fine tuning some of your parenting skills with regards to how to support your child’s emotional development; simply start by being present.
Taneisha Pugh is a Counselor at Arise and Live Christian Counseling. She has a God-given passion to help families and marriages tackle the difficulties of the twenty-first century. Serving alongside her husband in ministry, she brings over a decade of ministry experience and several areas of expertise to ALCC.