My Attachment Parenting support group made all the difference

Editor’s note: Parent support makes a world of difference — when we strengthen families, we nurture and fulfill our children’s need for trust, respect, and affection, and ultimately provide a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships. Sharing our parenting experiences — the difficult, trying, joyous, and happy ones — with other like-minded parents can help us feel understood and supported. Attachment Parenting International (API) is dedicated to supporting families in realizing the most important job there is –raising compassionate kids who will shape the future of our world. Click here to find an API Support Group near you.  

It was our usual afternoon trip to the library before picking up my oldest son from school. We typically go once a week and bring a large, reusable bag to fill with books — only on that day, I took a smaller bag, which I thought was a really minor change. But when my almost 4-year-old son realized that I’d done something that, in his mind, was completely different from what we always do, he wanted me to go home to get usual bag.

I could tell he was sad and close to tears, but he was trying to manage his emotions and to stay calm as I empathized with him and explained that it wasn’t possible to rectify the situation. After a couple minutes, he started to get sadder and louder.

Still, I managed to stay calm. It felt like a real success for me — completely keeping my cool even in a public setting, responding to him with empathy, staying connected, and not punishing or lecturing him for his emotions. Since we were in a library, I wanted to get out of there quickly so we didn’t disturb people. Unfortunately, trying to make that happen was quite a challenge for me as a mom. My younger daughter was with us and was happily selecting books from the shelf. I had to make the choice of checking out her books while my toddler cried and fought, or just leaving without them, which might upset her as well.

There were several other people around who seemed were watching me, including a few moms who were talking nearby, a mother with a young child playing calmly, a librarian, and an older man. As I struggled to the door with a baby in one arm and a crying toddler in the other, I didn’t worry if they were judging me. I knew I was handling the situation the best I could, and I was proud of that, but I did get upset that no one was able to offer me any help.

I felt that I could barely manage to open the door and get the kids to the car on my own, but somehow, I did. In the car, despite feeling pleased with my patience and ability to remain calm, I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I realized just how alone I had been in that challenging situation, and I couldn’t help but cry.

Afterwards, I reached out to the other parents in my API Support Group about my experience. The amount of support and love I got from the other parents was amazing. Many praised my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. Several pointed out that strangers are often unsure of how to help or unsure whether help is even wanted. Some shared that they had similar experiences and could relate. And one person also said that she wished she’d been there to help, to hold the door or to put her arm around me for support.

She told me, “You are not alone anymore,” which is something I wish all parents could hear when they’re struggling in moments like this.

Spring Mini Series Kick Off

Spring is finally coming! And with Spring, fresh ideas are flowing again, somewhat slowly like the sap in the trees but flowing none the less. So to kick off this spring I am going to embark on a mini series of the dangers of so called “baby training” and its effect on the parent/child attachment. This has been something that I have pondered for a while now as I consider parenting styles and how they affect the parent/child relationship. So this is my mini series introduction. Attachment is very important to me and I have seen and felt the effects of the lack of attachment in my life. The damage that it caused has been long lasting but the undoubted benefit of the experience has also reverberated through my life. I have also seen how the effects of well meaning but misguided parents who have either over-indulged and caused attachment problems or have read a book and followed some sort of baby training to the letter. I have seen first hand the difference between babies who are have been parented with attachment in mind and those who have been parented with schedule in mind.

It is not my goal to sound like I am anti-discipline. Actually it is far from it. I am all for polite, disciplined children. No one wants to live with a terror and nobody else wants to spend time with children who are undisciplined. I believe it is a disservice to a child to let them run the entire house because that is not how the world functions. But you can not schedule a child’s temperament and forced discipline is not self-discipline.

So here is the toast to a mini-series. Let’s make it a conversations.

Jasmine is a co-housing community living mama with a passion for fierce writing she blogs.

Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robthurman/4446152353/

How Not to Practice Positive Discipline

I came across this YouTube video several months ago and just chuckled because the first thing I thought of was that this is a shining example of how not to practice positive discipline. The rabbits were obviously having a disagreement and the chickens immediately responded with physical punishment. Okay, obviously a chicken isn’t going to be able to discuss the rabbits’ reasons behind the altercation and chat about alternatives but the video did lead me to reflect upon API’s 7th Principle of Parenting – Practice Positive Discipline.

The following is a short summary of the basis of positive discipline as well as the impetus behind my decision to practice positive discipline.

Attachment Parenting incorporates the “golden rule” of parenting; parents should treat their children the way they would want to be treated. Positive discipline is an overarching philosophy that helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Positive discipline is rooted in a secure, trusting, connected relationship between parent and child. Discipline that is empathetic, loving and respectful strengthens that the connection between parent and child, while harsh or overly-punitive discipline weakens the connection. Remember that the ultimate goal of discipline is to help children develop self-control and self-discipline.

I wanted to be connected to my child.
Continue reading “How Not to Practice Positive Discipline”

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