• Rebekah Porter

Nurturing Parent or Harsh Drill Sergeant? Which is Right?

Updated: Dec 24, 2019

What if I told you that if you I had a product that would make your baby grow up to be a happy individual with less medical conditions than other people? Would you buy it? I sure would. I have spent my child raising years searching for that magic solution. I wanted to raise my children better than I was raised. Hopefully, that is the goal of every parent.

Do you want to know what the secret is? It is a style called Attachment Parenting.

Attachment parenting (AP) is a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of parent and infant not only by maximal parental empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch."

I recently learned more about this way of raising your child by reading Attached at the Heart and it touched my deeply.

I was raised by a parenting style called Behaviorism which was common from the 1930's til 1970's.. "The theory that human and animal behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning, without appeal to thoughts or feelings, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior patterns." I was raised with rewards and punishments, like a pig being trained to do tricks. In this type of parenting style, there is no room for mother affection and attachment. Every part of raising children is looked at like a science experiment that can be controlled. "If you XYZ, your kids will turn out perfect."

It worked well in that all my siblings are competent people in society, but left some holes and hinders me as I try and raise my kids today. One of the most obvious ways is the phrases that run around my brain like, "If you don't stop your child from doing ____ they will do it forever." "Don't inconvenience the parents with your needs." "Spare the rod and spoil the child." "Don't cater to the baby's crying or you will never be the parent in control." "Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about."

Attachment parenting is more like the Savior taught. He considered each person a child of God and that they are unique. His stories and ways of healing were so different and exactly perfect for the person he was addressing. The biggest message He showed was love. I want to follow His example, but it seems impossible to do that when parenting these babies and teenagers.

I like the message of attachment parenting. "The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole." In this world I see violence on the news and it breaks my heart. I hear about bullying in my kids school and to my kids. I also get the family message that I need to "toughen my boys up or they will be sissy mama boys." Don't I want my kids to have empathy and be loving to their fellow man? Then, I need to pray and ponder about what the Lord would have me do with my kids to help them have empathy and show love.

What is your parenting view? Do your children have unique individual consciousness to be considered or are they meant to be forced to fit into the already existing parent life style? As parents do we need to drill obedience into them or nurture the sweet nature that is already in them? So many questions to consider what truth I believe inside. This will be a soul searching journey and I hope my thoughts are beneficial to other parents who are likewise searching for truth.

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