Society Has Changed
I've heard it all, from baby into toddlerhood-
Why won't she let anyone else hold her?
Why does she only want to sleep on you?
She's big now, stop coddling her.
Don't you think she needs to spend more time with other kids?
She's too clingy, too needy, too attached to you.
She's too big to be carried.
And my favourite: so and so's child is so independent 🙄
Our society is *obsessed* with independence. We somehow think it's the mark of a well adjusted child to be able to separate easily from their parents, but this is a gross misunderstanding of how children are meant to attach.
Babies and young children have strong instincts to keep their primary caregivers close. In a species born wildly underdeveloped, our survival literally depended on it!
Society has changed of course, but our babies and toddlers have not.
We need to stop forcing children to ignore their instinct to stay close to us. And we especially need to stop encouraging parents to ignore their instincts to keep their children close to them!
More than 60 years of attachment research tells us that what every child needs is at least one caring adult to attach to. This attachment is THEE key player in developing emotional regulation.
The only problem that arises out of attachment is when a child is not (or not allowed to be) deeply attached ENOUGH.
It would be almost humorous if it weren’t so sad that when children do start to take their first true steps towards independence – wanting to copy adults and do things themselves – is exactly when many parents intervene because the child is too slow, too little, or something is too dangerous.
We cannot – and should not – be trying to get in the way of our child’s independence - which includes allowing a long period of dependence to take place first.
I've had to work (and am still working!) on letting go of the scripts in my head that don't belong to me. I am not setting my child up for failure when I allow her to depend on me. In fact, it’s just the opposite - I am creating a strong, safe foundation that she will be able to rely on, when the time is right for her to separate from me.
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