We have all wondered this from time to time; Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a manual for raising kids? Imagine a passing grade was a requirement to become a parent.
What if we told you that you already know everything you need to know about raising kids? Would you believe us?
Well, it’s true. Only you are the expert on your children.
The real questions are: do you know you are? Do you apply this knowledge? Are outside forces causing you to question this?
The answers lie in your instincts. Biologically, we are programmed with the capabilities to nurture our children. For women, their bodies know exactly what to do in order to bring a human into this world. What’s even more incredible is what comes after. Breastmilk comes in naturally (and is even different when a child is born premature). Hormones change in both mom and dad to facilitate nurturing.
Whether you have biological children or children who have been adopted, all humans are born with the desire to connect with others and we require secure relationships in order to form our own identities.
So, what happens? What gets in the way of us “getting” our internal manual and following it?
A few things. Technology. Modernization. Individualization. Stuff.
Years ago, it was common for there to be more connection between relatives, neighbors and communities. Children had secure attachments with more adults and a healthier balance between time with peers and time with caregivers. Was this because there was less technology keeping us indoors or within the confines of our household? Now, children and adults seem more distant than ever.
Hi Touch > Hi Tech
In today’s world, everything seems to be faster, easier, and more accessible. As we’re increasing the ability to connect, we’re losing connection. As we’re keeping in touch, we’re losing touch. We’re shooting a text or a Facebook message instead of actually calling (which has replaced in-person visits, by the way).
Babies and young children need human touch and presence to not only regulate and feel secure, but to survive! In fact, babywearing and sleeping in close proximity has been found to cause a decrease in crying and SIDS. How many people let their babies “cry it out” against their gut feeling to quickly pick them up? Our reasoning seems to be based off of what “we’re supposed to do” rather than what feels natural.
We need to be more present for our children and for our loved ones in order to have better relationships with them.
Studies like the Still Face Experiment have shown that being emotionally unavailable is quite traumatic for a youngster. In this video (below) on the experiment, you’ll notice how distressed this child gets despite her mother being right in front of her.
Could you imagine the ramifications of this occurring consistently? Hour after hour? Day after day? While mom or dad is texting or preoccupied?
If your child was adopted, you could imagine how experiences prior to adoption may have affected him or her.
Good Parenting is About Healthy Relationships
In its most simple terms, parenting is about relationships. In order to become the best parent you can be, it is important to be able to form healthy relationships. This is the foundation on which you parent. Attachment makes up relationships. What is attachment? On a larger scale, it can refer to a person’s global capacity to form relationships. On a smaller scale, it refers to the emotional glue (strong or weak) comprising a particular relationship.
Healthy parenting means you are aware of the importance of the attachment between you and your child. It means you place your relationship with your child as a priority. Contrary to erroneous myths that you “will spoil your child by picking them up when they cry,” this attachment and bond-focused parenting (called by some, attachment parenting) is extremely healthy. You are providing your child with the foundation and tools he or she needs for everything moving forward: security, confidence, trust, reassurance, and relationship skills. Now, what’s wrong with that?
Legacy: What Will You Pass On?
Parents have the most awesome job: raising our next generation. There is tremendous power in that and we should own it. We should look deep inside ourselves and consider what legacy we want to leave behind.
We have the power to shape the world by giving our children the best surroundings for success: our home, our arms.
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