Each month, Dr. Levy answers a common question he has received from professionals, caregivers and parents during three decades of pioneering work on attachment theory, treatment and training.

Q. Why is confidence a key component of effective parenting?

Confidence is the ability to convey self-assurance, conviction and certainty. Confident parents have trust in what they are doing to help their children. Children feel safe with confident parents, whom they view as capable and dependable.

However, often parents and caregivers of children with special challenges experience a lot of self-doubts, especially when they are responding to difficult behaviors and common parenting strategies are not working.

You need four basic things to help build your confidence:  information, skills, support, and hope.

1. Information

Knowledge is power. The more information and understanding you have about your child, yourself and your family, the more confident you will feel. When you understand your child’s attachment issues and the effect on your family, you will be more likely to take the correct steps to solve the problem.

2. Skills

There are skill sets for parenting children with attachment issues, such as Corrective Attachment Parenting. Once you learn these skills you will experience success, and with success comes confidence. Just keep in mind that you can’t master these skills overnight. You will experience setbacks, but don’t let that make you feel inadequate. With practice, over an extended period of time, the successes will grow.

3. Support

Having support is crucial. When parents are isolated, feelings of doubt and uncertainty have room to develop. Reaching out to friends, family, your church, or support groups and professionals will help you stay strong and build your confidence. A mentor, or a parent who has been through a similar experience, can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself as a parent.

4. Hope

Time and time again, we have seen traumatized children make healthy changes in their actions and choices under the right conditions. Knowing your child can change creates hope and optimism. Be confident that you can help your child make these changes.

When parents understand their child, learn skills to help them, know they can lean on others, and are optimistic that their child can learn, grow and develop positively under the correct conditions, they can feel confident in their abilities and parent in ways that are loving and effective.

Previous articles addressed questions about the Seven Functions of Secure Attachment, the Dependency Paradox, the importance of talking about trauma, the First Year Attachment Cycle, traits of successful and healthy adult relationshipsthe importance of hope as a part of treatment for traumathe core concepts of child developmentparenting strategies for deescalating conflict and the importance of touch to fostering attachment.