Parenting a child with this type of attachment style is confusing and very difficult. It is hard to know when to comfort and when to give space. Honestly, the child is even unsure of what is needed/wanted. One of our children, does the push-pull often. This child may run up stairs excited to do an activity and then start throwing a tantrum three minutes into the activity. I have found this to be frustrating to say the least, but I have found hope in knowing why this occurs.
From what I understand, anytime my child feels loved in our relationship, fear surfaces. These fears usually have something to do with me leaving forever and the happiness ending or my love running out. My child has learned that people leave, both the good people and the bad people. Therefore, when something good happens, my child is afraid to enjoy it, because it might end AT ANY SECOND. I know, scary right! I cannot blame this child for feeling this way. Every caregiver has left with no return. This means not only physical existence ends, but loves ends too. Therefore, to this child, my love is like a pie. It leaves piece by piece and one day, it will be gone. Therefore, this child feels that anytime without me is wasting my love away on something else and making the love to run out faster.
I know your probably wondering how to help a child overcome this. EMPATHY. EMPATHY. EMPATHY. Reassurance does not work. The thoughts are so big you cannot reassure them away. The best thing to do is show a child from a hard place that you do understand and you know their hurting and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.
If you have access to one, it is also a good idea to find an attachment therapist to help you and the child cope and bond. It's a rough road, but I am confident that seeing my child overcome will be one of the most amazing sights I will ever see.