Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Attachment Parenting

In the past couple of years I've learned a little about attachment parenting theory and apparently unknowingly raised my four with aspects of it.

A bedtime ritual is a part of attachment parenting and I can attest that by fostering a connection with the child you actually make them truly independent. It seems counter productive to actively encourage being attached to you yet it creates a sense of security in them that they can leave you and know you will always be available for them to go back to.
Resiliency is what enables a child who is told or expected to do things by themselves to carry on and grow up. I wonder if that sense of insecurity that so many have stems from not being truly attached to someone significant in their lives when they were young.
Attachment theory and helicopter parenting are very different. One is encouraging an emotional connection and the other is to do with controlling the activity of the child. Example, a child (lets say is 4, old enough to use the equipment on their own) who is running all over a playground, climbing, sliding, swinging while the parent is sitting on a bench reading or chatting with someone else. The child looks towards or runs up to the parent every so often before continuing on with their play. The child is secure as long as their parent is within view and can be easily reached.

The helicopter parent is right there at the swing, slide, monkey bars ensuring the child doesn't slip or run too fast or use the equipment in a different manner than they think it should be used for. Or is worried that their child will be abducted (stranger abductions are extremely rare in well lit, well supervised & occupied playgrounds). Heliparent is telling their child HOW to climb, HOW to slide, HOW to interact with other children.
In case you think I'm exaggerating, I've been at a park with those parents and being generous I figure their child has never been outside their own yard before and has never used playground equipment. In that case the parent is teaching their 4 year old about something that is foreign to them. I think that for most children that is being a little TOO generous! By 4 a child has or should have experience and ability to use most playground equipment by themselves. In the western world that is. Developing countries are different. Unfortunately.

Attachment parenting is creating a strong bond with your child that enables them to be independent without any insecurity baggage. Who would you rather marry, someone who loves their parent(s) and can live a part from them, enjoys being with them, or to someone who does family obligations as though it is a form of torture or in order to solicit acknowledgement or praise from the parent(s)?  The former is the one who has a deep attachment and has no need to continually seek praise or acknowledgment because they already received it in their early childhood and it has been maintained throughout their life!

Over the next few weeks I'll post ideas on how to foster that deep relationship.