I used to be pretty crazy when it came to parenting… I’m just going to be the bigger person and say well look ok yes maybe I temporarily lost my mind and some point and I wish someone just said “Hey dude, relax!”… Well maybe that wouldn’t have worked anyway because I didn’t really think anyone could convince me otherwise. What is otherwise you may ask? I’m talking about attachment parenting. Yes I did it all, used cloth, banned artificially coloured/flavoured food from my house, baby wore constantly (nope no pram for us) co slept, homebirthed basically child centred parenting etc.
Now don’t get me wrong I am not having a go at attachment parenting in fact I still have loads of friends who practice AP. I have no problem with AP if it works for your family awesome… It didn’t work for mine though. I found some people in the AP community had a very all or nothing approach much like I used to. However my house was a shambles, I was exhausted, highly strung and most days I would end up crying because I just couldn’t handle the pressure. Plus my middle child as a result was even more anti social, fearful and lacked any independence because I never gave him any choice but to be by my side constantly.
A friend of mine once said if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t… I have to whole heartedly agree with that and look AP doesn’t completely sit right with my family. I had a 2 year old that had to be hip carried every where, cried at the mere glance of a stranger, melt downs over and over all day every day, wouldn’t eat and definitely couldn’t take him anywhere without him loosing the plot completely. When I had my 3rd child I had no choice but to kind of push him to the side. Guess what though he built up resilience and a once difficult child became much easier going and happier because he was given a push to have some of his own independence. I have no doubt if my 3rd didn’t come along I would still be carrying him every where and have him screaming at my feet where ever I went.
I still keep aspects of AP in my life I co sleep with my 3rd child, still strongly believe in homebirth and I prefer to take a gentle approach to parenting. However I realise some children need boundaries and my children are those children. I think it’s ok to say look this isn’t working for me rather than trying to be something that isn’t you.
At the end of the day I think I really had issues with my own childhood and was so drawn to ap because it was the complete opposite of my childhood. I wasn’t raised in a particularly nurturing environment and without going in depth I would call my childhood environment abusive. A lot of people who believe in child centred parenting believe treating children negatively ie. punitive discipline etc teaches a child inappropriate behaviour.
I know we’ve all heard the “Well I’ve been smacked and I turned out fine.” line. While I don’t agree with smacking (I have done it and I didn’t like it makes me feel awful.) I do agree that you can have a down right shit childhood and still turn out to be an ok person. I like to think I am empathetic and caring… But really would I be if I didn’t experience some kind of adversity.
What I’m getting at is different people respond to different discipline or even lack there of. So for example one person who is beaten as a child might become empathtic to that plight while another may inturn become an abuser themselves. I think the same applies for AP. Some children who are attachment parented may turn out to be caring and respectful when some might not. I’m not at all saying go out and start beating your children, I’m just saying that sometimes we have no control over who our children become. Rather than applying a one shoe fits all parenting approach maybe the individual child needs to be heard.
So that’s it really my confession that AP didn’t work for us and I’m not about to run back into it whole heartedly with arms wide open. I’m over banning things from my house or having rules that only suit my agenda. My children are people too and I realise I need to listen to what they want to an extent. If my girl wants a pink fairy dress, my boy doesn’t want to wear a stinky cloth nappy that gives him a rash or just a simple thing like my kids wanting to eat foods full of rubbish every now and again… I say go for it make your choices and learn from your own mistakes. I can’t shelter them forever and the sooner they learn resilience the easier life will be for MY children.
I never wrote this to upset anyone in the AP community but I know there has to be people who felt like AP wasn’t working for them. I just wanted to put it out there that it’s ok if it doesn’t work for you. You do what’s best for your family and if it feels right then it probably is. AP might work wonderfully for your friends or whatever but the only person that really knows you and what works for your family is… YOU. You want to feed your kids shit food, use a reward chart, ditch cloth nappies, stop co sleeping, whatever really go for it if it makes you and your family happy who cares what other people think of you.