What’s your attachment style? – Children

It is my belief that an understanding of attachment styles would help so many people (not only parents and partners).

Clearly people like social workers, counsellors and some other therapists would find this very useful. However people like: teachers and support staff, people working in human resources, people working at management level and many others would find understanding of attachment beneficial.


Quite simply it gives you a basis to understand how to relate to that person. You will understand so much more about why a person reacts as they do and how they relate to other people.

Perhaps a good place to start would be looking briefly at attachment styles, starting with children.

There are commonly thought to be four main attachment styles that are attributed to children

Secure Attachment

A child that shows secure attachment will have received consistent care giving. A child will trust if a caregiver leaves them, that they will return. They will compose themselves after a brief upset and find something else to do or play until their caregiver returns.

Avoidant Attachment

Parents of children who are avoidant tend to be emotionally unavailable. They disregard their child’s needs and are often rejecting. The child seems independent of the caregiver, physically and emotionally.

Ambivalent Attachment

This is where a child will feel anxiety when separated from their caregiver and does not feel reassured when the caregiver returns. The child has not developed feelings of security from their caregiver. They are difficult to soothe when distressed.

Disorganised Attachment

This attachment style (or lack of it) is the most challenging to deal with. The child is likely to mistrust adults due to issues like abandonment, drug misuse, abuse and so on from caregivers and will find it almost impossible to feel safe.

These can be further broken down (i.e Secure avoidant, secure ambivalent etc) but we will stick to these main categories for now.


My belief is that those who have an attachment style other than secure, will still need whatever is missing to be met. Whether that be from friends, partners, teachers, parents, support staff, the state etc. This can mean if the needs are not met that they may become vulnerable and/or be drawn to other similar people (chaos). It also means that if some attempt is not made to support that person (either through self acknowledgement or other support) that they may continue a cycle of avoidant, ambivalent or disorganised parenting or ways of relating to people.

As many of you know my campaign is about schools and increasing their awareness and understanding of issues around trauma, adoption and looked after children.

Why would a better understanding of attachment help schools?

Schools (and teachers) have a vital role to play in supporting children through their school life. Teaching is a demanding job which requires a great deal of skill. As a teacher you are knowledgeable about your subject, however,  more importantly (I believe) you need to manage your classroom – the children and their behaviour. Understanding behaviour is key.

My understanding is that teacher training does include more about attachment (instead of the cursory 2 hours I received), however, understanding the impact of behaviour on a child’s learning and the possible source of the behaviour AND to have a plan about how to deal with it, should be key to planning. Dishing out detentions, isolation and negative comments in planners does not work in a positive way, in particular for children with ambivalent, avoidant or disorganised attachment styles. Accessing support for children, using positive behaviour strategies, short-term positive goal setting, positive contact with parents/caregivers will aid teachers understanding, promote positivity in the classroom and help everyone feel progress is being made.

Look out for Part 2 of attachment styles (in adults) in my next blog.

Are you interested in coming along to our Parent Support Group in York? It is for all parents who want support with parenting.

Our Next Meeting

Thursday 4th May – 1pm – 2:30pm

Lidgett Grove Methodist Church

£5 (to cover costs) includes refreshments

Juliet x


Campaign Begins: Understanding Attachment, Trauma and Mental Health in Schools

I’ve set my intention (I did it on Facebook a few days ago) for a campaign.

“Some of you may know that I feel strongly about how children are cared for in school. I want schools to have a better understanding of attachment, how to work with looked after & adopted children, children with anxiety, trauma etc. I want schools to be more knowledgeable about behaviour and what it means, to be much more positive and less punitive. Of course there are some schools who are much better at this than others. I have written the occasional blog (and rant) about some of these issues and plan to do more. There has to be a better way than the often dished out detentions, negative comments in school planners, isolation etc. First thing to do is be more consistent and measured with my blogs and see what comes from that.”

I am tired of schools and other institutions being largely ignorant about matters relating to adopted and look after children (and adults). I am tired of banging my head against a brick wall trying to explain the impact of trauma, anxiety and mental health issues on children. Many staff in education do not have the first clue about attachment, which would benefit them greatly in their dealings with children (and most adults), long forgotten are the cursory hour or 2 spent  studying John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory.

This is not about school or teacher bashing, this is not about adding workload to teaching and support staff. This is about making things easier for everyone. It is an area where a little knowledge goes a long way. This is about understanding behaviour and interpreting it for the good of everyone. This is about being curious about behaviour and psychology.

Where do I start?

Well I have started, by writing this blog. I intend to continue writing blogs and getting the blogs under the right noses (eventually). I will look for opportunities to speak and contribute to training in and out of schools and generally rattle a few cages and see what happens.

Who is Juliet Powell?

It’s not easy telling my story and perhaps it is largely irrelevant. However, the relevant bits are that I am an ex-secondary school teacher, I taught for 10 years in 4 schools (urban and rural) and have knowledge of what happens in schools (albeit a few years ago). I have 2 adopted children in secondary school. We were refused school entry in year 7: through lack of understanding and compassion. I am a counsellor (specialising in working with parents). I create Health & Wellness events to bring therapies and support to all. I have undertaken a wide variety of therapies for both my children and I. I have run parent support groups in variety of guises, all with an underlying theme of support no matter what your circumstances. I have been featured in the local newspaper (The Press), The Daily Mail and Prima Magazine (talking about school transition) and featured on Sine FM and Vale radio talking about children and mental health.

I do hope this means I speak from a place of knowledge and understanding.

What happens next?

To be honest, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that I am putting it ‘out there’. I am reading more, I am writing more, I am on the look out for others who feel the same.

Looking for support, understanding and somewhere to be heard? Come along to our next Parent Support Group:

Date: Thursday 4 May

Time: 1pm – 2:30pm

Place: Lidgett Grove Methodist Church (Meeting Room), Wheatlands Grove, Acomb, York, YO26 5NH

Tickets: £5

See you there


Event Link


How does it feel?

Consider this, the school you go to already knows that you have issues around anxiety, low self-esteem, trauma and loss. You already have an education health care plan (what used to be called a statement) and receive a lot of support in school, you have outside long-term therapeutic help. Your psychological and mental health issues are widely known. In short you have difficulties maybe even disabilities.
and you are punished for them

How does that feel?!

Makes me feel a bit sick inside, turns my stomach, makes me feel upset, close to tears.

My Point

If you have a physical or external disability of difficulty, it is visible, hopefully, you make allowances, allow that person extra time to move around, allow that person extra time with accessing work, allow extra time with activities that require physical movement. That is the kind, sensible thing to do.

What happens if you have an ‘invisible’ or internal difficulty or disability (diagnosed or not)?

If you don’t understand it, you may think the person is strange, lazy, weird, naughty, attention seeking or weak……… and needs disciplining.

How does that feel?

Disciplining you, for your mental or psychological health difficulties, that somehow you can discipline difficulties out of people.

That makes me feel angry.

Imagine this, you are very fidgety, a new person has come into the classroom you do not know, you are on edge, frightened even. You begin to rock on your chair, you can’t stop, who are they, what are they going to do? You receive a detention for not sitting still…….for being annoying.

You are anxious, worried, scared – the answer – discipline!

Trauma, attachment, loss, depression, mental health difficulties are not understood in schools (or not enough).

That makes me feel at a loss, powerless and out of control – the answer– tell people, I am angry, and if you are going through the same, I get it and you.

I channel my anger by campaigning (when I can).

Imagine you look at your school planner, it is littered with negative notes. I wonder how that feels to look at it.

For many children they would ‘say’ you are:

  • Bad
  • Naughty
  • Not worthwhile
  • Confirms your already very negative self view
  • Your self esteem takes another knock
  • You self confidence is ‘shot at’

School and society needs to have a clearer understanding of the impact of difficult starts, attachment and the impact of multiple losses.

I understand schools need behavioural policies, need to help children understand the consequences of their actions, need to help them be valuable members of society and I support teachers and schools (having worked in one for 10 years). It’s hard.

Schools (and society) need to know that you CANNOT discipline psychological and mental health problems out of children. Kindness, understanding and forethought about handling anxiety, trauma and loss are needed.

Detention, Isolation, On-Report – think carefully about those words what do they remind you of?

They remind me of Prison!

Kindness and Understanding are the key.

If any of this resonates with you from any angle you can come along to my new support group in Acomb, York, there are links below.

Have a peaceful weekend
Juliet x


Facebook Event

What if?!

With just one to week until the brand new Parent Support group in Acomb, York, I am really looking forward to meeting you.

There are quite a few parent support groups out there but many of them are for a specific reason such as parents with a child with a disability or particular need etc.

What if you just want some support with parenting?

What if you just want to talk to other parents because you find parenting bloomin’ hard?

What if you are unsure about what support you need?

What if your child or children are in secondary school and you have lost touch a bit?

(and many other ‘what if’ questions!!)

Come along to a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, where you will get a smile, a cuppa and asked what do you need or want from a support group.

Thursday 30th March
1pm – 3pm
Friends Meeting House, The Green, Acomb, York, YO26 5LR
£5 per person

Click the buttons below to find out more and reserve your place.

Passionate parent!


Reserve Your Place (£5 per person)

The Concept of Belonging

I have been pondering the word ‘belonging’, what it means and how it feels.

I think as a solo business owner, it’s something I think about quite a lot. Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?

I’m not talking about niche or market sector or segment (although I do think about that sometimes!).

I’m talking about where you belong as a person and linked to that, what is my identity? how do I see myself? how do others see me?

I think we all need to feel we belong – we are part of clubs, societies, groups, classes, political affiliation, churches/religion, bands, associations, families and so on.

It is when we are cut adrift and are not sure where we belong, or start to question our belonging that feelings of isolation, loss or transition start to surface. Perhaps this is where new groups and classes evolve from. ‘I don’t fit in to what is available, so I am going to create my own group/class/tribe’.

If we are lonely or alone we are encouraged to join a club or class, everyone is keen for us to belong somewhere.

Meeting people is important, social interaction and where we belong changes as we move through life. I felt a strong sense of belonging when my children were in primary school and when they moved to secondary school I lost that interaction and sense of belonging.

I attend classes and clubs and I wonder “Are these my type of people?” “Do I belong here?” and I keep going, so I guess I do!

I go to Networking groups and have the same questions, but perhaps everyone is thinking the same.

I pondered what do people who are on the edge of society feel, they are marginalised, perhaps not cared about, don’t feel they belong. How do they cope?

It’s quite a heavy concept for a Monday morning (!), however, I wanted to think and reflect on belonging. I moved house a lot as a child and never really knew where I fitted in. Perhaps this is why I can relate to people who feel lost or outside some how.

As a business owner, you can pick and choose where you feel you belong. As a therapist I set up my groups for parents and business owners to attract people with similar goals to me and created my own sense of belonging and I hope they felt they belonged too.

Have a great week.


PS. If you want to belong to one of my support groups or masterminding groups get in touch to find out about the next group and when it begins. If you love the concept of Power Brainstorming and want to test out your ideas in a supportive setting – click the link below.