What is Circle of Security Parenting?

March 22nd 2019

Welcome! Are you a parent/caregiver who feels at times lost without a map? Lost at sea without a lifejacket to help you as you wait for the Coast Guard to come rescue you? If you have children and you sometimes say to yourself, "What do you want from me?" then you have come to the right place. "What the heck is Circle of Security Parenting?"

Diluting the Power of Connection

March 9th 2018

Even though technology has offered us many advantages, humans have stopped looking at each other as often. We have eye contact that is filtered through our screens and we are missing out on the information we receive when we look at real-time, live, in-person faces. 

Parenting Is So Inconvienent

February 23rd 2018

Inconvienent moments pop up often when you are a parent. So can love, delight and connection. 

The Forever Empty

February 8th 2018

A young mom asked me how to help to make sure her child didn’t have to go through some of the same pain she had. This mom had an especially difficult life but our discussion was familiar to me.

Time Out!

January 19th 2018

Let’s talk about “Time Outs”. Most of us who are now parenting grew up with time outs or spankings of one kind or another. And, according to research, most of us now would prefer not to spank. Are “Time Outs” the only option? Are there any benefits or risks to them?

"We Were Wrong, Man"

January 10th 2018

When a facilitator is preparing for a Circle of Security Parenting class, they hope to be able to offer something new and relevant to the parents.... To help a parent feel less overwhelmed or more centered and hopeful, to offer a sense of Bigger, Stronger, Wiser and Kind as the parents are learning to be the same, to model reflection and awareness so there is an environment open to discussion of all things parenting. Once in a while, there are magical moments where the people in the class - strangers before, but no longer - are the ones who provide the most important teaching.

A Parent's Story: I Can't Be As Overwhelmed As He Is

November 3rd 2017

A mom wrote to us after attending a Circle of Security Parenting class. Her reflections are powerful and she agreed to let us share them with you. When we share in our struggles and triumphs, we add to the collective wisdom of parenting with secure attachment in mind. 

It's All About The Quality of the Relationship

October 18th 2017

Teenagers who struggle with being bullies or victims, who struggle with depression or anxiety, who struggle with aggression or violence all report similar thoughts and feelings: they are alone, they don’t belong, no one cares, it will never get better. Secure attachment helps protect against these thoughts and feelings. Forming and maintaining a quality relationship with your teenager through emotional regulation, taking charge and reflection may not prevent every tragedy from occurring - the issues involved are more complex than that - but it is a significant step in the right direction. It is a step each of us as parents can do and the ripple effect of it just may be enough to make some real change in your own community. 

When It Is Close To Home

September 28th 2017

I’m not sure I’m being a good enough parent to you, but I love you with every ounce of my being.

Trigger Warning: This blog includes information about a school shooting. 

Work and Work and Work Until You Get It

September 14th 2017

In these moments, she doesn’t need her caregiver to teach her how to crawl - she has the instincts which can provide that - but she may need a caregiver’s encouragement, a caregiver who creates a safe surrounding for movement and a caregiver who can help her work through any feelings like that may come up, such as delight or frustration.

The Subtlety of Shark Music

August 24th 2017

"My shark music is what got in the way of us moving into this new way of being together. It was me all along, not him. I thought I knew Circle of Security. I thought I knew my shark music. I thought I knew myself. And yet... the subtlety of this shark music made it so that I didn’t notice it for months."

What If It All Turns Out Okay?

August 17th 2017

How would you parent if you knew that your child would turn out okay? Would you let go of some of the smaller stuff? Focus on connection more than consequences? Allow more room for your child to make mistakes? Make more time for family dinners at the table and less time for technology?

Anxious Children

August 11th 2017

“Current research from Germany shows that parents who are relaxed instead of vigilant or over focused on their infants have infants with less anxiety. Too much focus, being hyper involved, actually feels overwhelming to a child.” (Raising A Secure Child, pg 53)

Be Gentle. He Is Still Learning.

July 27th 2017

In the day-to-day grind of life, it is easy to forget the preciousness and fragility of our children’s spirits. The fundamental, deep-seeded, instinctual need they have for us to be patient and gentle and kind with them, even when we have to set a boundary or say no.

Eliminate Two Words From Your Parenting Vocabulary

July 20th 2017

A child falls and is scared and hurt. They look to the most important person in the world. This person is their everything: their source of learning, their source of love, their source of making sense of a confusing world. They have big hurt feelings and they hear, “you’re okay”. Those words do not match up with their internal experience of being not-okay.

Healthy and Secure Transitions: Scenerios

July 13th 2017

In our last of a three-part series on transitions, we will address two specific situations. We will give a scenario and consider it from multiple perspectives. Looking at all this information through the lens of Circle of Security, we will discuss options for security through the transition moment. 


Healthy and Secure Transitions: Parents, Children and the Environment

July 6th 2017

Transitions are complex! There are so many factors to consider. In the first blog on this topic, we discussed how to view the transition through the eyes of your child. In this blog, we will focus on all the various internal and external factors that could impact transitions. 

Healthy and Secure Transitions: A First Look

June 29th 2017

Lately, we’ve received a number of questions about how to have a successful separation when a child attends school or childcare. It’s a complex question and at its’ heart is how parents negotiate transition with their child. We decided to devote several blogs to this topic because “coming” and “going” are important to relationships. 

"Time In": A True Life Example

June 22nd 2017

A parent’s ability to allow room for “Rupture” and “Repair” is an incredible opportunity for a relationship to grow. Many people do not have experience with the power of this process. Here is a true example of a mom who learned how to do a “Time In” with her son while he was very angry at her. 

Remember The Tenderness

June 15th 2017

Tenderness may be one of the most powerful connecting opportunities we have. It also can be one of the most overlooked. Children (and teens... and parents.... and friends.... and partners...) need moments of tenderness. 

Attachment and Brain Development: Middle Prefrontal Cortex

June 8th 2017

Over the past 10-15 years, the research of brain development and the research of attachment have had some interesting intersections. One of these intersections has to do with a part of the brain called the middle prefrontal cortex. For parents who struggle with certain decisions their children make, learning about this part of the brain could offer some support. 

The Benefits of Secure Attachment

June 2nd 2017

Sometimes, under the stress of life, we forget to match our moment-to-moment parenting decisions to the big picture of our children's long term needs. We get impatient when our children need patience the most. We get loud, overwhelmed and frustrated when our children need a kind, in- charge parent. We get so lost that we tune out the needs of our children when they need engagement and commitment the most. Sometimes, we expect them to succeed in life even when we aren’t giving them the tools to succeed. 

"Daddy! Daddy! John!"

May 22nd 2017

Everyone knows the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. We tell our children that we love them, but do our actions show it as well?


Will My Child Become A Cry Baby?

May 11th 2017

In some cultures, there is a message that our children will become “cry babies” if we let them express their emotions. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Why Are You Doing This?

April 24th 2017

It can be hard to figure out what our children need from us, especially when we are feeling some type of pressure. Taking a step back to breathe and observe can change the course. 

When A Child Won't Listen

April 17th 2017

Sometimes parents have a difficult time setting limits and have to rely on too many tricks to get their kids to listen.  Making decisions with COS in mind can help parents stay connected and in charge. 

Parent's Instincts vs. Expert Advice

April 10th 2017

Parents are often inundated with advice from professionals on the best ways to raise healthy children. Should parents follow the expert's advice or listen to their own instincts?

Can Less-Than-Perfect Really Be Enough?

April 3rd 2017

One definition of “perfect” is  to make something completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible. In relationships, it seems like this definition could provide the key to success. If you can make sure there aren’t any problems or arguments, then the relationship will be solid. If you don’t make any mistakes as a parent, your child will respect you and turn out okay. Whew. What a relief. 


Except, of course, none of us are perfect. 

Shark Music Behind Closed Doors

February 21st 2017

During a COS-P group, a young mother shared a story about her struggle to make sense of what was real danger and what was her own Shark Music.

If you have met one person with autism...

September 21st 2016

Katie Jessop, MA, a LMHC and Registered Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator in Spokane, WA, shares her professional and personal insight into autism and its complexities in our latest blog post:

Hidden in Plain Sight

August 24th 2016

The Circle of Security® is about switching the focus of our attention away from the behavior and onto the relationship needs that are always there, Hidden in Plain Sight.

It's Never Too Late

July 7th 2016
The needs on the Circle of Security are like the foundation of a home. What comes first builds the foundation for all that comes later in life.

Finding our Way out of Mean, Weak, and Gone

June 17th 2016

Let's face it. Sometimes being a parent is just plain hard.

The Balance of Being-With

April 15th 2016

Being-With is, in many ways, at the heartbeat of our Circle of Security approach.

A Mom Discovers How to Help Her Struggling Teen

March 17th 2016

Can changes in how a parent responds change the way a teen behaves? See what this mom discovers after participating in COS-P.

The Thirteenth Flaw of Parenting

January 19th 2016

This much we know: We all struggle as parents. All of us. No one is perfect. Indeed, any attempt to be perfect is by its very nature a sign of imperfection. (An excerpt from an upcoming book by Hoffman, Cooper, and Powell: Raising a Secure Child – Guilford Press. Expected publication February. 2017)