Archive for the ‘Attachment/Parenting’ Category

Baby feet parents handsSome times I find it hard to sum up how I want to parent.  I have the thoughts in my head and my hubby and I have written down how we want to parent but still it seems so broad.  A few months back I found a website called Holistic Moms Network.  HMN exist to create a community where parents who desire to parent holistically can connect and encourage one another.  On their site I found a summary of what is considered Holistic Parenting and their breakdown struck a cord in my heart.

What is Holistic Parenting? (cited from http://www.holisticmoms.org)

Holistic parenting begins with an understanding and respect for how all living things are connected and how we impact one another. As such, holistic parenting embraces green and non-toxic living, non-violent communication, and natural health.

The Holistic Moms Network believes there are 7 fundamental ideals for holistic parenting:

1. Making informed and educated parenting decisions around issues such as childbirth, breastfeeding, healthcare and well-being, nutrition, interpersonal communication, and education.

2. Seeking respectful and nurturing relationships with others, imparting the values of empathy, love, and compassion to our children, and embracing attachment parenting techniques (including babywearing, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and positive discipline).

3. Actively participating in our own healing process when we’re out of balance; using minimally invasive healthcare modalities to help the body and spirit heal while respecting the many paths to healing, both holistic and conventional.

4. Balancing and integrating the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of being into everyday life; using the principles of wholeness – healthy eating, regular exercise, natural healing, stress reduction, non-violent communication – to create a balanced life for the entire family.

5. Teaching our children to respect and care about the natural world by actively providing opportunities for them to be in nature, and teaching them about how they can protect our environment.

6. Limiting our children’s exposure to advertising, marketing, and a consumer-driven culture that is creating rampant materialism, disconnecting them from nature and healthy social interactions.

7. Living more simply and consuming less in an effort to reduce our impact on the environment and to emphasize non-material values.

Discover more about Holistic living and parenting at http://www.holisticmoms.org   Holistic Moms Network

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Adult hand and baby handSomething I read today that spoke to my heart…

“Our children don’t care if we have money, position, fame or beauty.  To them, we are the universe, and all they ask of us is our love, our time, and our nurturance.  In return, they give us their unconditional love and joy, and the promise of a lifetime of connection.”  -Attached at the Heart

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A Story…

pippi Here is an excerpt from a book I’m reading…got me thinking.  What do you think?

In 1978, Astrid Lindgren received the German Book Trade Peace Prize for her literary contributions.  In acceptance, she told the following story.

Never Violence

When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was a standard punishment at the time.  But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking – the first in his life.  And she told him that he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with.  The boy was gone a long time.  And when he came back in, he was crying.  He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”  All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view:  that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.  The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried.  Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever:  never violence.  Because violence begins in the nursery – one can raise children into violence.

Astrid Lindgren – Author of Pippi Longstocking

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"No"Our son Judah loves to put everything in his mouth.  While exploring and learning, everything he can grasp goes straight to his mouth.  Showing him new things or letting him play can be daunting because I’ll usually turn to see something I’d rather not have in his mouth, in his mouth!  I try to stay on top of things and give him plenty of things to play with that he can chew on but he’s only entertained for so long before he wants to crawl to something new and chew on it.

Recently, we were encouraged by some well-meaning loved ones to start telling Judah “No” every time he touches, picks up or attempts to chew something he shouldn’t.  “He needs to start hearing the word so he can know what is allowed and what isn’t.”  I always hear advice when it is given to me and I will take it into consideration and hubby and I will talk about it.  But when I heard this advice something in me just didn’t set right.  Judah is only 8mo. and is just starting to realize his capabilities and loves exploring his world and has no concept of the word “no” or any word for that matter- although he has just started shaking his head from side to side, which is really cute!  I just don’t want to start using the “No” word constantly.  Now, I don’t want my son getting hurt by chewing or touching something he shouldn’t but I am sure there are better ways to draw his attention away and show him what is allowed.  I know many kids start telling the parents “no” when they talk to them.  And I don’t want to speed up that time coming or make it worse by teaching him a word and concept so early on.  I also don’t want to lessen his curious nature because he equates learning and exploring with being told “no” to every little thing I think he shouldn’t be doing.

As I was reading Attached at the Heart, I came across some interesting info:  “The conscious parent meets the needs of the child by providing safety, support and structure for the child as he moves through each developmental stage.  He is attuned to the unique personality and temperament of his child and able to see what his child needs as he grows and changes.  He is educated about the developmental stages of children and is able to stay alert and flexible in interactions with him.  Positive discipline involves creating a positive home environment that not only allows but also encourages children to learn and explore.  It is critical that you learn as much as you can about child development.  Once you learn what the cognitive and behavioral expectations are for different ages and phases, it is much easier to be patient and respond appropriately to redirect and guide the child’s behavior.  Parents are instrumental in helping their children explore safely by seeing the world through their children’s eyes, modeling respect and empathy, and when appropriate, allowing children to experience natural consequences of their actions.  For example, when your baby is crawling around and decides to touch something you don’t want him to touch, recognize that he is fulfilling his need to explore and learn.  Quickly move the object or get his attention, then redirect him toward something else.  As he gets older, you can use words to explain what you want him to do rather than getting in the habit of saying “NO” or “Because I said so!”  Few of us would like anyone to talk to us that way.”

I learned a lot from this excerpt.  It’s so important for moms and dads to understand where their kids are at developmentally so we can have realistic expectations for them.  If we understand how our kids think and see things we might be more apt to approach them more proactively rather than reactively.  I want to foster my sons curiosity and help him safely discover his world and realize what he does and does not understand.  And I want to take the time needed to be proactive as a mom in efforts to practice positive discipline.  And this is just the beginning… 🙂

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I’m still reading Attached at the Heart and a few quotes stuck out to me.  Let me share.

“Intuitive, conscious, attached parenting requires something that none of us learns on the playground, in the classroom or on the job:  Grace!”

“See your children with your heart not with your eyes.”

Parenting intentionally requires much grace because you intentionally make the effort to daily love, enjoy, raise, and understand your kids.  I don’t want to parent by chance.  It might be easier to just assume that I as the mom think that I know what Judah should and shouldn’t want.  Or just simply parent as I have seen done rather than by observing the benefits or lack thereof of a parenting style.  But I want to put a lot of thought and energy into being a mom.  I don’t want to do what seems normal culturally or even parent as I was parented.  I want to seek God’s best parenting from his Word and His best for Judah – after all He created Him and knows exactly what he needs.  

I want to see Judah from my heart not from my eyes.  I want love to be what drives me.  I want the bond that I have with my son to be the foremost thing to be protected as I make decisions.  

It is not always easy parenting intentionally.  Some days I just want to turn off and put myself first…unfortunately more than I’d like to admit.  But I don’t.  I press through the feelings of selfishness or the “I deserve…” and give of myself.  I try to understand Judah and his needs and wants.  Why he loves me so much and wants me to hold him.  Why he would prefer to play with me instead of some plastic toy.  Why no matter where I may put him so I can fold clothes he always crawls right back over to me.  These things may seem an inconvenience but I am humbled by how much he loves me and it makes my love for him grow even more.  So I stop what I am doing and hold him, nurse him, sing to him, play with him and make him laugh.  That’s what’s really important.  I choose to parent!

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Be The Change…

SweetI thought I knew so much about parenting before I had kids and what kind of parent I would be.   Then I became pregnant and am now a mom and I have done things so differently then how I thought I would.  I consider myself an attachment parent.  I had never even heard the concept until about 1/2 way through my pregnancy and even at that time I didn’t think I would practice that style of parenting.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed but planned on stopping at the recommended 4 or 6 months.  Other than that none of the AP lifestyle appealed to me – co-sleeping, extended BF, gentle parenting, babywearing, etc.  But once Judah was born everything changed.  The instincts and desires that God had placed in me as a mom took over!  I found myself more in love with this little person that I ever thought possible and I just knew that I would parent differently than I thought I would.  I didn’t even learn how to attachment parent, it just came naturally for me to co-sleep, breastfeed until Judah is ready to wean, wear him as much as possible and parent him gently & respectfully.  Now just 8mo. into mommyhood I can see the benefits and results of parenting from my instincts – I have a son that I am bonded and connected to.  I am not a nervous mom but confident that I will learn from Judah what he needs.  I also see that God has given me the privilege and honor of raising this little person to become the person He created Him to be.  There is obviously SO much I still don’t know and trust that God will continue to lead me.  But I am loving this journey of motherhood.

With all that said, I am reading a book a called “Attached at the Heart” and in the book it talks about how to parent your children in a way that helps to keep the heart connection between parent and child strong.  So far it’s a great book.  There is something that stuck out to me that I wanted to share.

Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” They took that concept into parenting and said “Be the kind of person (parent) you want your child to be.” WOW!  That’s something to chew on and so I have.  So often as parents we can think that who we are and what we do as has no effect on our kids.  I suppose that’s where the saying, “Do what I say, not as a I do” came from.  But God has given parents the challenge to be the kind of people we would want our kids to be.  That puts the weight on us and off of them.  I see my need for Jesus to daily show me areas in my life that need His light so that I can be a person that Judah can look up to and model.

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