Thursday, June 14, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

(Disclaimer: Nothing I'm about to say is an attack on any individual. It's a lament over the current state of things, and possibly a gripe towards the people with some sort of authority that perpetuate it, but nothing personal. If you do the things I complain about here I understand it's just because it's the "norm" and "the way things are done" etc. I hold nothing against you. Basically don't read more into this than what I'm putting here...thank you.)

Our current culture has an awful view of children. Ok, maybe awful is going a bit to far, but at the very least it's frightening and negative. Parents are so often told (by Doctors, books, "experts" etc.) that they need to "train" their child.

Children aren't dogs!

It's so frustrating to me when I am told I need to "sleep train" Hana. Or when people think I'm odd for "potty training" her. Or when I'm told it's such an awful thing that I respond to her or wear her because I'm "training" her to be clingy and needy.

If we treated any other class of people the way children are treated there would be an uproar. If an elderly person without mobility was left without access to a bedpan and had to sit in soiled clothing for an hour (or more!) people would have a fit. If a person without the ability to clearly communicate was left alone crying until they fell asleep authorities would be called in. If we see a stranger on the street in obvious need of something (a tire change, for example), we stop to help. If someone is hungry we do what we can to feed them.

And yet when it comes to infants none of the above applies. We're told they need to be left to figure things out for themselves. To "self soothe", to learn they can't always "get their way". I'd like to find the person who first came up with that idea and ask them where their mind went.

If anyone else in my life were in need of something, someone I cared about even the slightest bit, I'd be seen as mean or uncaring if I didn't offer some comfort or respond to them in some way.

We somehow lost sight of what it means to be a child - to explore, to learn, to grow, to be in the care of another. Yes, children need structure and boundaries, but they also need to be able to be children.

Attachment theory
talks about the need for a child to develop secure attachment to a primary care giver. This security helps to balance and regulate the child, giving a safety. When it comes time for the child to explore or try something new, they have the reassurance of that safe place and the confidence to try new things. Unfortunately, outside of early childhood education or child psychology, attachment theory isn't very well known.

Some people think this is just part of me being an idealist. Or it's because Hana's my first child. Or because she's a baby. Or that I just plain don't know what I'm talking about. I don't care. I'm going to raise my child with the same respect and dignity that I would show to anyone else and would respect for myself. If I were to hit an adult it would be considered assault, so I won't hit her. I don't like crying myself to sleep, so I don't make her do it. I can eat when I'm hungry so I extend the same privilege to her. I know that the people who love me will be there for me when I need them, and I make sure she has the same security. I will teach her to be a loving and compassionate person by being loving and compassionate towards her. I will let her know there are things in life that aren't fair and she won't like, but that they're small compared to all the good things she can get out of life, and I will help her to work through them.

A quote I love (tho can't find who said it) is "It's easier to raise healthy children than it is to fix broken adults.". I think that once this mentality is more widely adopted we will see a big change in the world. I want Hana to be part of that change.

22 comments:

Charity said...

Hana is YOUR child no one else's well besides Ben :P and NO ONE has the right to tell you how to raise your own child. If the child feels loved and you are doing everything humanly possible to train her up in the ways of God and how you feel as Christian parent and someone who is walking with God in all she does... Then you don't need to listen to anyone ESPCIALLY someone who doesn't know you or your baby. You love Hana.. Hana loves you... and your both happy when you are carrying her on your back *ps I will remember your carrying method so someday I will try it when I have a baby* MORE POWER TO YOU :) and that is all I have to say about that I just had to rant... your baby is beautiful and I hope you and Ben have a good day

Supermom said...

Wow you know must know EVERYTHING about babies, huh? Especially all about how other people should raise theirs. So I don't see why you're gettin' all hot under the collar about people trying to tell YOU what's right LOL. You do the exact same thing!

Steph said...

supermom - do I know you?

Because if you knew me, I'm sure you'd know that I don't tell anyone how to raise their children. When asked I give my opinion, or speak from my experience, or give information that I've found helpful. However, I don't expect anyone to listen to me and do as I say without making their own decisions based on the information they have. I don't have the kind of power to control anyone, and most people I know aren't threatened by a new idea or difference of opinion.

Bionic Mommy said...

Wow Supermom... You need to chill. I read the disclaimer (didn't you?) -- Steph is Not trying to tell anyone how to parent; she is expressing her Opinions. It sounds to me like she is just wanting the "best" for her child (as we all do). And, what's best for her child Isn't the same as what is best for your child or mine. I think it sounds like she's trying to parent "intuitively", rather than blindly accepting "the wisdom" of older generations & so-called "experts". Please forgive me for saying so, but it sounds to me like you may insecure about some of the decisions you're making about parenting if you're taking her thoughts so personally. I find it disappointing that, once again, women are each other's biggest critics. Why not take each other's opinions into consideration & try to Improve ourselves, rather than biting & clawing each other...

Jo said...

Steph, I just want to say that I agree with you. And props to you for reading about attachment theory. I think it is THE most important part of being psychologically aware.

Anonymous said...

First off this is stephy's blog and aren't blogs meant to be a like an online line journel. Secondly steph for the going on 6 or 7 years i've known steph i have always apperciated her desire to learn as much as she possibly can about anything. And her ability to have informed conversations about it. I don't think steph would ever think of shaking her finger at everyone that doesn't do what she does. She's the furest thing from a judgmental person.
Stephy I think it's neat and great for you and Hana that you wear her and try didn't stuff for her. Each child is different and has different needs and wants, and I've think you are doing a great job of meeting her needs. Please don't ever change.

Katie Thomas

Deborah said...

Hey Steph this is Deborah Guptill. And I just want you to know that I love how you are raising Hana. I have not seen you in action, but I think that it is great that you are treating her the way you do. No I don't have kids but I have worked with them long enough and have seen enough kids from bad homes to know that kids need to be shown respect. And the way you carry Hana around is genius, I always wanted to do that when I have kids..I mean they did it for thousands of years in other countries why not here.

Alisha said...

I completely agree with everything that you said Steph.

I personally don't think that you even need a disclaimer, my blog doesn't and it says a lot more risky things than yours does here. A blog is a journal, why censor it?

As for Supermom, she seriously needs to chill out. Go and play with your baby instead of attacking people with different ideas than you. (some people!)

I am sorry that you come across so many people that think that they have the right to be in your business...they obviously have nothing better to do. ((hugs))

Steph said...

Thanks all...

And I just want to reiterate, it's not about the personal parenting choices any individual makes - We do what we do with the knowledge we have available to us. My problem is with the current attitude our culture has towards children. I really feel it needs to change, but that won't happen so long as those "in power" (the ones that parents go to for help and advice, the teachers, doctors etc.) keep perpetuating that bad attitude. I want to offer an alternative. Hopefully as the alternative gets out there and more people see the contrast between the two the attitude will start to switch.

the other bionic mom said...

Steph, thank you for sharing! The more we talk about the alternative in the open, the more people we have the potential to reach. Opinions are important!

Supermom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MeanMommy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steph said...

I'm debating deleting the comments from "supermom" because of the sarcasm and derogatory nature of them. I'm not one to promote censorship at all, but if you have an issue there are much more productive ways to deal with it.

two points: I made no implication that you or anyone else treats their child like a dog. The statement was that using the language we use with animals only perpetuates the negative and unhealthy attitude that our culture has towards children.

Secondly, if what I write causes you so much anger, why read it? You're free to read it if you want, and comment (tho I really am getting tired of the sarcasm, we're all adults here and should be able to have a difference of opinion without resorting to childish remarks), but no one is forcing you to. I can't understand why you would want to read something that fills you with such negativity. There is no shortage of support for the way you think and do things, so why does my opinion matter to you in the least?

dueinoctober said...

There are studies which prove that the extinction method makes a baby
happier, with more rest, and does not create an attachment disorder.
This is despite the many websites that proliferate on the attachment
method and saying that the Ferber method has been proven wrong by
studies. I never saw one conclusive study that was put forth by any valid research and most are simply based on either pseudoscience or on a false premise.

Steph said...

really? Could you share those studies with me? I'd be interested in reading them.

I'm also interested in the studies you've read on why the extinction method might be bad? For me it just makes sense - stress hormones are released in stressful situations, and we know how harmful they are for adults, so why would we think they're good for babies. That's why I'm curious about them being found to be helpful. Thanks!

MeanMommy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dueinoctober said...

"Are infant crying and maternal responsiveness during the first year related to infant-mother attachment at 15 months?"

"Matemal Unresponsiveness and Infant Crying Across the First 9 Months:A Naturalistic Longitudinal Study"

"Infant Crying and Maternal Responsiveness"

"Does Maternal Responding Imply Reduced Infant Crying? A Critique of the 1972 Bell and Ainsworth Report"

Steph said...

OK, I have deleted some of the comments because they had nothing to do with my original post, or were too personal for a public forum.

If anyone has anything personal to say to me, feel free to email me perry_a_s@yahoo.com

Jadon & Amberly's Mommy said...

Wow.

MeanMommy said...

I find it interesting that you chose to only delete my posts. Is it because they really hit a nerve because there's truth to them? They were relevant to your original post. I even directly quoted it to illustrate my thoughts. It just goes to further my opinion of you as a hippocrate. I expect no more of you than to delete this as well.

Steph said...

mean mommy - I did delete your posts because they were sarcastic and personal attacks. I also deleted other posts that fell into the same category and my responses to them. As I said, if you have a personal problem with me (such as thinking I'm a hypocrite) feel free to email me. Lets keep the conversation here about my ideas, not about who I am.

crystalwaterdancer said...

Go Steph! You rock! I am really upset by the fact that someone feels they should come to your blog, attack you personally for your beliefs, and push their own on to you. You never went to their blog to do that.

If you don't like what she has to say...don't read it. You don't need to use sarcastic comments to try to make Steph feel like less of a Mom. You do it your way, we'll do it ours.

The fact that you keep comming back to see if her mind has been changed shows that perhaps Steph has hit a nerve in you?