Part 1: My Kids Act Up, Too!
Last week, I posted something on my Facebook page about my parenting style:
“I do parent differently. I don’t spank, I don’t punish. I don’t use reward systems. I guide, I teach. My kids are happy, loving, and I often get compliments on their good behavior. I breastfed on demand, I coslept. I base my parent on individual relationships with each of my children, I base my parenting on that children have equal worth as adults. And, when fully embraced, it works. For me, for my kids, and for my husband. Especially for my marriage, because the attitude I take toward my kids is the same that I take toward my husband. I accept, I love unconditionally, I love our differences. It’s a different way of looking at kids, at parenting, at marriage, at the world. And it has a name: Attachment Parenting.”
I got 11 likes. But that wasn’t the point.
This Facebook post came after yet another discussion with someone who insisted that because I am parenting differently than her that I must not know what I’m doing. She couldn’t fathom that perhaps I have consciously chosen to raise my children the way I am. My Facebook post was to dispel all those myths swirling around about my personal way of parenting my children – that it would turn them into spoiled-rotten brats, that my marriage would dissolve into divorce, that a person could not possibly raise a confident, independent child without putting a hand to his backend and bribing him with stickers.
But then I got to thinking about it, and what I don’t want to give the perception of is that by parenting this way, my kids don’t act up, that they don’t do the same things that everyone else’s kids do. The difference in parenting approaches is not the child’s behavior but the parent’s reaction to the child. A more mainstream parenting approach uses punishments and rewards to control children through fear and manipulation. An attachment-based parenting approach sees children’s poor behavior not as something that needs to be extinguished but as something that needs to be reshaped as a form of communication. An attachment-based parenting approach views children’s behavior as an expression of whether their basic emotional and physical needs have been met or not.
Back to my kids yelling at each other: They had been playing on the bed and one fell off onto the floor in a most ungraceful manner. The one still on the bed immediately dropped to the floor to check for injuries and apologize, and the one who had fallen lashed out kicking and accusing her sister of pushing her off the bed on purpose. No amount of apology was enough. She would not be reasoned with.
What would you do? How would a mainstream parent react? Now, if you turned this situation on its head and took an attachment-based approach, what are the possibilities for the unmet need? And how would you then deal with this situation? We’ll explore this more in the next post.
Brhel, R. (2012). Part 1: My Kids Act Up, Too!. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 25, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/attachment/2012/12/part-1-my-kids-act-up-too/