Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama!. This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!
Are you an "Attachment Parent?" I hadn't heard the term until I had Sasha. I was very attached to my older daughter, too, though. We rarely left her anywhere. Hell, I rarely even left her with her father! I nursed her on demand, until she self-weaned at 3½ years old. She was, however, considered a "mama's girl" and it is all too easy to blame that on my parenting style. When I left that family (got a divorce), I had planned to take her with me. However, based on my weird work schedule at the time and living at an apartment, her father suggested leaving her with him - in the house in which she'd grown up so far. We agreed on it. We hoped that the separation would help her, too.
I still can't speak to that topic. I don't know yet if it was a benefit or detriment. Three years later, her father passed away suddenly and she came to live with me full time. We're not as close as we were back then and I think being her mother would probably be a lot easier if we hadn't had that time apart. Thinking about that makes me sad.
Now I have Sasha. I'm still parenting as an Attachment Parent. It is simply what works for me. It is how I'm wired. Maybe I'm just too much of a control freak, but neither my husband nor myself are comfortable leaving her with sitters. We have one friend that we're comfortable having care for her, but even then it is generally within the perimeter of our home. He takes her for walks or outside to play.
Now we have Spencer, too. And I'm not changing me. My husband trusts my experience and supports my decisions. We do discuss things if we have differing opinions on how things should be handled. I know sometimes it disappoints him just how much she prefers me over him, but he also understands that breastfeeding alone makes a big difference there.
Even though my older daughter may have seemed too needy and my toddler prefers me over everyone else, I really believe this is the right and healthy path for us.
So how, exactly, do I encourage a close relationship and healthy (hopefully) attachment with my children? First off, I'm available at the drop of a hat. I generally put their needs well ahead of my own. The other, really wonderful way that I enjoy fostering a close attachment is holding my babies while they sleep and having them cosleep in our family bed. I just feel that these choices help show our children that they can trust me to be there for them.
My hope for their healthy futures? I hope that my children become adults that want to talk to me every day! My mother had it with her mother and wished that we had it. We did have it before she passed and I miss rattling to her about whatever was on my mind. It was a relationship that I treasure, though.
I also hope that by being here for them, fulfilling their needs as they express them, they will one day develop that into voicing their needs with their life partners. Dreaming big? Eh, this just seems like a great place to start that foundation!
How do you ensure a healthy attachment with your children?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- "Keep Them Close and Let Them Go: Fostering Healthy Attachment As They Grow" — Helen at Zen Mummy wonders how to maintain a healthy attachment as our children become more independent.
- "Honesty (With Your Children) is the Best Policy" — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children shares how honesty with her children is helping to build an authentic relationship which will last through the teen years and beyond.
- "Fostering Healthy Attachment?" — Momma Jorje discusses how she is building a foundation of attachment with her children and how she hopes it serves them in their lives as they grow into adults.
- Beyond Bookend Parenting — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting describes their efforts to maintain their toddler's attachment to her working parent through play and routines throughout the day.
- Have You "Huggled" Today? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how "huggles" work like magic in her home.
- Your Childhood=Your Child's Childhood? — Amy at A Secure Base examines the research about how our attachment experience can shape our attachment with our children.
- List-Making Activities to Celebrate Family Connections — Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares some family list-making activities that will help you reflect on what you love about your family and can spark ideas for future family fun.
- How To Keep in Touch With Distant Grandparents — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers several tips to foster connection with relatives who live far away.
- Beyond Bonding: The Power of Positioning in Babywearing — Steffany, a babywearing educator, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains how optimal positioning in quality carriers can help babies' physical growth, brain development, and overall attachment.
- Playing Follow the Leader — Zoie at TouchstoneZ has learned that the more she meets her children where they are rather than where she would like them to be, the greater the elasticity of their bonds are.
- The Evolution of Attachment: Parenting Without a Roadmap — Sheila at A Living Family reflects on her family's recent generation of mothers and shares how she is working to make an evolutionary leap towards forming healthy attachment.
- Facilitating Sibling Connection — Laura at Authentic Parenting gives a set of pointers on how to facilitate sibling bonding.
- The Farm in my Bed — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses fostering children's healthy attachment to "lovies" and comfort objects..
- My Early Morning Shadow Valerie at Momma in Progress shares a few ways she maintains a strong connection with her almost six-year-old daughter.