Out of our concern for the best interests of parents and their babies, we want to take this opportunity to provide you with childcare ideas that you may never have heard of before. We believe that you have the right to know these parenting viewpoints before you choose what is best for you and your baby.
Our advice is do what you believe is right in your heart. God has created babies with the ability to communicate their needs. Watch and listen carefully to your baby, and you will learn the art of parenting. We hope you find the following information interesting and helpful as you are faced with the responsibility of providing the best care for your precious gift from God.
We praise and thank God for leading us to practice attachment parenting. The bond that results from a close parent-child attachment brings tremendous joy to families. We can’t tell you how profoundly this has impacted our lives. Our children are thriving, and in our family we often describe these secure attachment feelings as “happy and full of joy.”
William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. are credited with coining the term, attachment parenting, to summarize the following practices (1):
* Connecting with your baby early.
For more information, read Pregnancy, Natural Childbirth, Birth Comfort.
* Reading and responding to your baby’s cues.
For more information, read Cry it Out, Sleep Training: Is CIO Biblical?
* Breastfeeding your baby.
For more information, read Breastfeeding, Extended Nursing, Spacing Babies.
* Wearing your baby.
For more information, read Babywearing: Why Should I Carry My Baby?
* Sharing sleep with your baby
For more information, read Sleep Sharing, Family Bed: Where Should Baby Sleep?
Dr. and Mrs. Sears wrote The Baby Book, which is quite possibly the most complete how-to book on practical infant childcare that has ever been written.
Your child will help you become the parent God wants you to be. Learn to open your heart. Learn to give of yourself. Learn compassion. Learn unconditional love. Attachment parenting truly brings out the best in families.
Attachment Parenting and Independence
Those who have not experienced attachment parenting may have the misconception that children raised in this way will not be independent. In our experience, attachment parenting results in very independent children.
For example, at the age of three, our daughter could get up and dressed, pour a glass of water from the faucet, get a bowl of cereal and pour milk alone. She could get other food and snacks herself throughout the day. She could get herself ready to play outside (footwear without laces and jacket with zipper). She could carry her baby brother around. She could buckle her own seat belt on her booster seat. For chores, she could fold towels, pick up books and toys, and even use the mop on the floor. She has never been clingy. She has always played well with other children.
As each baby has come along, we have learned more and more about the significance of in-arms care for the first nine months post-partum and exploring for the next nine months. Our youngest child was carried a tremendous amount during the in-arms stage, and he was given a great amount of freedom during the exploring stage. We are truly amazed at his independence.
We believe that when children are given a secure, connected babyhood that includes newborn bonding, exclusive breastfeeding, sleep sharing, and LOTS of babywearing, they develop a strong sense of self and independence.
Attachment Parenting as Children Grow
A while ago, our children were learning about magnetism. It reminded us how God designed families to function with a similar natural magnetic force in the parent/child relationship. We believe a home with attachment relationships has a natural force at work that pulls children toward their parents. In our own home (magnetic field), we daily experience this natural pull that makes children gravitate toward their parents.
“Just as a magnet turns automatically toward the North Pole, so children have an inborn need to find their bearings by turning toward a source of authority, contact and warmth.” (2)
This natural pull is most obvious during the in-arms stage when babies need to be close to their mothers most of the time. At the exploring stage, children crawl and toddle, yet need to be sure that a parent is close. As they grow, children continue to need frequent checks with home base (parents). Even our older children gravitate toward my husband and me. This is a very good thing.
We believe the parent/child attachment is parallel to God’s relationship with us. Does it make sense that the more time we spend in prayer, in study of the Scriptures, and in fellowship with God’s family, the easier it is to do what is “right”? The closer the bond, the less room for sin.
The parent/child relationship is more important than all the parenting skills in the world.
“Adults who ground their parenting in a solid relationship with the child, parent intuitively. They do not have to resort to techniques or manuals, but act from understanding and empathy. Practical approaches will emerge spontaneously from our own experience once the relationship has been restored.”(3)
Due to our sinful nature, we often wish our children would just go play. We don’t always want to bother meeting their needs. We try to remind ourselves that if we keep pushing them away, one day they will push us away, and turn to their peers or others for love, attention, and comfort. Problems begin when the attachment relationship is disturbed, especially when children replace their parents with their peers.
Here is one of our favorite quotes from Hold on to Your Kids.
“Jesus captured the incompatibility of competing attachments and, too, the bipolar nature of attachment when he said, ‘No man can serve two masters: for he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold on to one and despise the other?’ When the loyalty is to the peers, it will not feel right for the child to be on our side or to do our bidding. Children are not disloyal to us on purpose; they are simply following their instincts – instincts that have become skewed for reasons far beyond their control.”(4)
Children are often neglected socially while adults gravitate to other adults and ignore the young. Children once again find themselves in an attachment void. They turn to their peers.
“Our children are growing up peer rich and adult poor.”(5)
Easy ways to get children out of our hair is to send them to school, have them play with ‘friends’, or as we do too often, have them play with their siblings. The third is unlikely to result in peer orientation, although we suspect we should be more involved at times.
“In general, we focus more on getting our children fed than on the eating rituals meant to keep us connected.”(6)
Family time, especially during mealtime is an important part of raising children. One of our family rules is that nobody is allowed to read at the table during supper. This is difficult for us folks whose eyes search for any written print, including words on the Ketchup bottle. *grin*
Is teenage rebellion normal? It may be common, but we don’t believe it is necessary. We are of the opinion that teenage rebellion is not ‘normal’ or something to be expected.
“We’ve come to believe it’s natural for teens and parents to be alienated from each other. It isn’t… If our kids have become rebellious, their parents pushed them.”(7)
“Many parents dismiss their intuitive sense that something is amiss and console themselves that their children are growing up. We are meant to let go all right, but only for our children to become truly and independently themselves, not to replace us with others.” (8)
The authors of Hold on to Your Kids listed some adolescent expressions that we occasionally (to our dismay) see in our oldest child. We are thankful to be able to recognize and work on the underlying relationship issues.
“The eyes that hold you at a distance, the stone-faced look, the refusal to smile, the rolling of the eyes, the refusal to look at you, the foiling of contact, the resistance to connections.”(9)
These are signs of detachment, not signs of growing up. When we work on restoring the relationship, we see the problems quickly disappear. Parents may spend years detaching from their children with punishment or neglect, then wonder what happened, and hope for the return of their prodigal son.
Keep the connection, even as children grow. Focus on relationship before behavior by connecting before teaching.
For additional information related to attachment and discipline, read this essay:
Christian Child Discipline: Is Spanking Biblical?
© 2001-2010 This website and its contents are copyright and intended for educational purposes only. The information, research, experiences, and links contained herein have not been compiled by a physician and should not be considered as medical advice. Opinions expressed in the reference books and links may not in all cases reflect the beliefs of Carol@parentingfreedom.com.
1. William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N., The Baby Book – Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby – From Birth to Age Two, (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 1993).
2. Gordon Neufeld, Hold on to Your Kids p.7.
3. Ibid. p. 13.
4. Ibid. p. 39.
5. Ibid. p. 50.
6. Ibid. p. 47.
7. Kathy Woodard, Rebels Without a Cause, August 22, 2005.
8. Gordon Neufeld, Hold on to Your Kids
9. Ibid. p. 35.
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