Attachment Parenting: What Went Wrong? Adapting as your child grows.
I never intended to be an “attachment parent”, in fact I had never heard the term.
Yet almost immediately after birth, I practiced every principle of attachment parenting.
Cry it out….yeah, not happening.
Co-sleeping….Unintentional at first but now that we’ve done it I miss him if he isn’t there.
Cloth Diapering…..started at 10 months when I moved to an area where people actual did that.
Baby wearing….. how else would a new mom function?
This was baby number one.
Baby number two…
all of these were immediate and intentional.
I’m full blown attachment parent, But now I have two babies…..a 3 month old, and a four year old.
For the three month old I’m once again the textbook attachment parent.
To be honest, I didn’t even notice until my daughter was born that I wasn’t being the ideal parent for her brother.
My four year old is still very “attached” to mommy.
Lets take a step back so I can share with you my visual picture of the mommy I would be.
I was going to be the mom who didn’t yell.
I would explain things, in very detailed soothing terms why what he was doing was wrong.
He would be kind, smart, and internally motivated.
I would laugh and play with him, and I would never be too busy like my mom was.
For a couple of years,
I rocked that mom life.
I’m a mother of two, entrepreneur, and full-time graduate student. After six years in the military, my husband has a full-time career and is working on a bachelors degree in his field. We have a six bedroom fixer-upper.
The four-year-old is an intense child.
He’s incredibly smart.
He is compassionate.
He knows not to use paper towels because they are made of trees.
He wants to share and help people….and has doctor ambitions at the age of four.
He’s a great kid.
But he is NEEDY.
He drives me crazy 75% of the time.
I have some hardcore guilt about that.
Why does he drive me crazy?
Because I’m not spending time with him.
I’m on my laptop, I’m on my phone. I’m working with clients, I’m working on my blog, I’m working on graduate school research.
I’m working. I’m working. I’m working.
Mommy doesn’t have time for this right now.
I say this more than anything else.
That is a problem…and it’s a problem I’m working on.
Unfortunately this has made me the kind of parent that yells. Constantly.
And my kid became the type to throw arm flailing tantrums if he doesn't get his way.
He'd way rather spend time at his grandparents where the focus is on him.
I was NOT the parent that I want to be.
It's pretty heartbreaking to see the child that you spent years breastfeeding, wearing, and educating turn into a child that you don't know how to handle.
This can happen to any of us, for lots of reasons.
When I started writing this post, I realized that falling off the bandwagon is common for attachment parents.
I’m not alone.
That’s a relief, because I was feeling pretty crappy about it.
So what’s the solution?
Well the reality is, attachment parenting strategies alone don’t really work for older children.
When baby wearing and breastfeeding ends, many of us are lost.
I’ve shared this on a personal level with other moms and even clients for the last two years.
When they are little parenthood is easy:
They get hurt: breastfeed.
They’re hungry: breastfeed.
They’re thirsty: breastfeed.
They’re lonely: breastfeed.
They’re just crying and you’re not sure why: breastfeed.
Then they wean.
Baby wearing still helps for sure, but eventually that loses it’s magic too.
I distinctly remember my son’s first boo boo after weaning….I was lost.
I felt like a brand new mom, straight up confused.
Just standing there patting his back, wondering if I’m even helping.
I figured that out, sort of.
The transition from attachment parenting a baby to parenting an older child can be difficult.
We can be left lost and confused and not really sure how to move forward; without our old tools and without our old skills.
Well mama your baby is growing up, it’s time to find a new game plan.
It’s time to adapt.
For me, that involves embracing the concept of positive parenting.
Positive parenting and attachment parenting are similar.
If you love attachment parenting, chances are you’ll love positive parenting.
You could say they kind of run with the same crowd.
Positive parenting has a basis in child development.
For those of us who have reluctantly embraced the concept of TV for mommy's sanity it's basically parenting like Doc McStuffins mom, or the parents on Kate and Mim Mim.
I actually think these children’s TV shows have just a much to teach us as parents as they do our children, maybe more. While we’re trying to get them to watch TV and leave us alone for five minutes, these super parents are there making us look bad. Although they do leave their kids alone a lot. That’s another topic I suppose.
Positive parenting is based on mutual respect between parent and child. It's a belief in the inherent goodness of children. Seeing their good intentions in their misbehavior. It is treating your child with absolute respect and love. It’s speaking positively, teaching your child to trust and love and care for the world around them. It’s raising good people who are internally motivated to make good decisions. Not children that behave for fear of consequences.
It's an entire outlook and method of interacting with your child in every moment. Like attachment parenting, it's really a way of life.
It’s raising the people I want to raise and being the parent I want to be.
I’m going to be sharing a lot more about positive parenting and why it’s wonderful on this blog, but until then a quick Pinterest search will provide you with a ton of resources on how and why to implement the practice.
as your babies grow so do you.
Get out there and learn a whole new philosophy.
You may be surprised by the difference positivity can make in their life, and yours.