sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Archive for June, 2012

America Values Violence and Fears Attachment

I wrote this post 3 days before having a car accident.  I guess I was unsure of publishing it right away due to the tone in my title.  My husband says blog posts need catchy titles.  Yet,  I wanted to re-read what I had written before posting it.  And so after reading it today, I see no reason why I shouldn’t go ahead and post it.   Funny, just a few days ago I watched a talk show where they talked about the Time Magazine Cover.

 

An hour ago, I sent my husband and children off to Great Wolf Lodge for a special day event: Big Splash, a fund raiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.   I will be joining them soon but decided to sent them on, so I could have some alone time.

I first finished cleaning up the kitchen and then gathered the items for our lunch and packed them in the cooler and in the car so that I wouldn’t have to think about any of that once I sat down to do something for myself.

Now what?

I found an Unschooling Summit, an online seminar on unschooling.  As I sit here listening to a talk on attachment parenting, what came to my mind was all the media attention on extended breastfeeding due to the recent Time Magazine  cover displaying a woman standing up and nursing her toddler.

Our society does not embrace the idea of attachment parenting and most people do not even understand what it really is, despite the fact that attachment is so essential to children’s development.   Thanks to About.com: “PsychologistJohn Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby, 1969, p. 194)”  I took development psychology in college and recall the attachment period of child development or attachment theory which described the importance of a child developing a secure attachment with their primary caregiver.  It is apart of psychological development of a child just like a child develops in other areas:  physical, motor skills, language, etc.

The way I see it, when people dismiss attachment parenting or criticize it, especially if they have no education in the area of child development, then it is just like someone who has no training in any given field, like engine repair or engineering or oral surgery and  coming in and giving you advice on  what you need to do and writing articles on their opinions about these fields and how things need to be done.

Sure, all parents have experience with children but they also have all the “experience”- positive and negative -from the way they were parented which interferes with their judgement and perspective.

On child development….

Would you put your  9 month old in crawling classes or your 12 month old in a special school or program for learning to walk or your two year old in speech therapy because they are not talking?

Children develop at different paces and their is a wide range of normal for motor skills like crawling and walking  and also speech.  Some children never crawl!  My mother never crawled.  Some children walk before they are 10 months old, like my youngest child and some children do not walk until much later.  My oldest was 16 months old before he took steps on his own, and luckily I knew that up to 18 months is still within the normal range of development.   Sure, some children have special needs or conditions which do require therapy or assistance.  Of course I know that- I am an Occupational Therapist!

Most people understand these ranges of normal, especially when it comes to motor skills and even speech.  Yet, when it comes to emotional development, most adults fall very short in understanding what children need and how they are developing.  I believe  our society, specifically American society, because I am an American, and our modern way of life contribute to this misinformation.  And it is not new to the 21st century, it has been going on for some time.  Anyone could argue how these issues have been happening since the industrial revolution or even longer depending on belief systems and life style.

 Somewhere the idea that children need to be pushed away from their parents in order to be more independent came to be part of our society’s accepted norm.  I think it has become greatly exaggerated in modern times and is applied to younger and younger children

All of the education I have had and training as well as the books I have read and my personal experience as a mother, leads me to the conclusion that the above belief is not only misdirected but just plain wrong!  Sure some children become more independent when they are apart from their parents, but I don’t believe it is because they are pushed away but allowed to move away on their own at their own pace.  And that pace can be very different for different children.    And sure their are independent “successful” adults who were brought up with this belief of needing to be separated in order to be more independent, yet, I challenge the true psychological well being of these people, and how they are raising their children and how it is affecting their children.   My point is that taking on this belief as a whole in our society is having a growing detrimental affect on the well being of our society.  Not just the emotional well being but also their ability to function in society and interact with others.   I challenge anyone to dig into the backgrounds of any of the children from school shooting incidents and find a child who acted out violently in this way and was attachment parented (given no other major illness).

What about extended breastfeeding?

Do you think there are children who were breastfed beyond the age of two in an attachment parenting household, who grow up to be kids who use a gun on classmates or even later in their adult life on co-workers or former co-workers or anywhere else?

What is it that our society is afraid of when we see pictures or read about children who continue to be breastfed past the age of 2 or 3 or 4…or older?

Before you start sharing your opinions about mothers being the one who “make their child continue to breastfeed”—-Let me just add that YOU CAN NOT FORCE A TODDLER OR OLDER CHILD TO CONTINUE BREASFEEDING.  (caps added for emphasis and frustration at hearing this silly statement from people who have no experience nursing a child past the age of one).

Have you raised a toddler?   I can attest from personal experience x3 as well as professional experience working with breastfeeding mothers, that children who continue to nurse into toddler hood or beyond, are not made to do so in any shape or form!   Believe me, even those of us who fully embrace extended nursing, natural child- led weaning and attachment parenting, are ready for their children to nurse less as they get older (and they do nurse less- often much less) then in their first year.   I would also add that YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED AT HOW MANY PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW HAVE BREASTFED THEIR CHILD PAST ONE YEAR AND EVEN PAST TWO YEARS.  Most of it happens only in the home, at nap time, sleep time and wake time.  And no one ever knows the child is continuing to nurse.

Thank you for reading and challenging your beliefs and I pose this last question question to you:

Why is our society so lenient or accepting of violence- be it movies, tv shows, video games…it is everywhere you look even in G rated movies,  and yet, we are so afraid of attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding?