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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Attachment (and a little pat on the back!)

I've been thinking about attachment lately.  We have to do TONS of training on attachment - how it starts, what happens when it's been broken or doesn't happen, etc.  It's scary stuff, my friends.  And it stresses me out a little bit.  So of course I'm doing what any other nerdy parent would do: I've done all the online adoption agency trainings, read lots of recommended books and read lots of other people's blogs about what they're doing/what they've done in terms of attachment. And praying. A lot. Oh how I pray for this child!

I read some blogs of people who had created attachment plans with lists of the things they'll do or not do with the child for the first 6 months, year, etc.  At first when I was reading through them, I grew a little anxious, thinking "This seems like a lot. And I guess I need to get started on a list" 

When I went to Rob to talk with him about it, he pointed out something really nice: Because we tend to parent in the "attachment parenting" style anyway, a lot of the extra attachment stuff you can do is stuff we did with our biological kids anyway.  I guess attachment parenting is coming more into the mainstream.  Or maybe I just hang out with enough people who parent like me that I think it's more mainstream, but I still do get a good bit of rolled eyes surprised looks questions from folks about ways I choose to respond to my kiddos' needs.  (Please refer to my previous post about my ideas about parenting: I am certainly not trying to imply that everyone needs to parent the way I do). In case you're wondering about those "shocking" things we do, here's the dirt: cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, not doing cry-it-out, gentle discipline, babywearing.  Imagine my joy when I learn that that kind of stuff is exactly what you need to do for an adopted child! WHOO HOO! It was really like getting a pat on the back in a world where I sometimes feel the need to defend (or just not mention) my parenting philosophy!!

So while attachment plans that say "no one but mom or dad feeds the baby during the first year" sounds huge, I realized, pretty much no one other than Rob & me ever fed either of my kids during the first year (with the exception of our 2 incredible babysitters who are more like family members anyway).  And when I read "mom will wear baby in a sling for most of the day", I thought about how no one at Riley's preschool recognized Allyn when she was out of her sling 'cause they'd never seen her out of it before!

I know this doesn't mean I've got it all in the bag in terms of what my next child will need, but it was really really nice to feel like at least this part of it isn't going to feel foreign to me.  I got another little boost when I was reading "The Connected Child" (GREAT book that was recommended to us).  As I was reading it, I realized it is almost exactly like Love and Logic, which is a parenting strategy we really like and use A LOT.

PS. This post comes on the heels of yet another night when I missed youth group because Allyn wouldn't stay in the nursery. She is way too nice to say it, but I know that the sweet woman who keeps her on Sunday nights thinks I'm spoiling her by not allowing her to scream and cry while I walk out the door.  Attachment parenting can come with some fairly big sacrifices but, for me, the sacrifices are more than worth it! :)

1 comment:

  1. I believe it's totally worth it. I watch my 2 year-old niece, who had a long journey toward sleeping peacefully through the night, and who still waffles as to whether she wants to be in nursery on Sundays, and believe that my sister's attachment-oriented style has likely accellerated my niece's progress in both areas, but building a strong base of security, and helping her know that her parents are trustworthy and will not leave her alone in her fear and distress. In contrast, I know other children who continue to have difficulty falling and staying asleep into their fourth year, or to whom nursery and Sunday School are always a bit frightening.

    I certainly realize there are individual differences at play, and so parenting choices would not account for all outcomes, but I still think there's something to be gained from using an attachment parenting style.

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