At times, parents can feel lost when trying to figure out what their children might need from them. 

There’s no manual for children, said Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers Circle of Security facilitator Lauren Meade — but they are born telling us exactly what we need, parents just have to learn to read cues. 

For the second year in a row, Lighthouse will be hosting an eight week parenting series called Circle of Security in which caregivers of children of all ages will learn how to better understand their child’s needs. The series begins today and ends on Oct. 22. 

“This program teaches parents to look at the whole picture instead of just what’s happening in the moment, to kind of step back and see ‘What’s my child telling me, what’s my child needing,’ because what they can hear is different than what they’re actually needing,” Meade said. 

The program is based on decades of research on attachment and what kids need in their development — all the way from birth to adulthood, Meade said. 

“With a newborn, it’s I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m tired — very basic things,” Meade said. “But as they get older, this is helping parents open their eyes to ‘Wow my child needs more than just food and clothes and a house’.” 

Caregivers will meet once a week for an hour to discuss videos, readings and activities over various topics in group sessions, as well as reflect on their parenting styles and how they were parented. 

Many of the children that have gone through traumatic situations within the Carter County community and beyond have had parents who went through similar traumas, Meade said. 

“It’s very generational, so mistakes are made and they often repeat,” Meade said. “There’s no way to improve unless you break that cycle.” 

Building a secure parent-child relationship helps children enjoy more happiness with their parents, feel less anger at their parents and come to their parents when they need help or are in trouble, Meade said. 

The effects of a secure relationship developed in childhood also last much longer into adult life. As individuals age and venture out on their own, their secure attachment bases grow to be filled by best friends, spouses, and other important people in their lives, Meade said. 

“Throughout their life, without that foundation of attachment, their other relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, they can’t be solid,” Meade said. “They don’t have that view and it promotes better self-esteem.”

The Circle of Security program is designed to enhance the parent’s role in helping their children successfully manage emotions and develop self-esteem into their adult life — and perhaps break the cycle of trauma that inevitably and often unknowingly exists in some parenting styles. 

“It follows you all the way through life because you’re going to have someone that you go back to for help, go back to for your excitement,” Meade said. “It’s never-ending, it just changes.” 

To register for the program, contact Lauren Meade at lmeade@mhsso.org or (580) 226-5048.