Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Attachment parenting - Tip to create insecure attachments

Whenever I come across a book or article on parenting I like to see  how the following issues are handled.

A)     how boundaries and limits are introduced into the family – a top-down approach with the parent unilaterally setting the boundaries or one where the parents and kids collaborate and ' work with each other

B)    How parents deal with inappropriate behavior  - ' doing to ' the kid using consequences, time out , enforcing parental will or  ' working with ' the kid using CPS – collaborative problem solving

C)    Motivation -  using extrinsic motivators like reward, punishments, stickers, awards etc to motivate kids or help kids to motivate themselves and find what they do intrinsically motivating or further important goals  ,by supporting their autonomy , competence , relatedness

 Carin Goldstein talks about the importance of secure attachments between child and adult.

If Securely attached –  kids are emotionally available, perceptive, responsive and autonomous.

Here are some of the tips.

1)   You and your partner are the ultimate example to your child of how two adults connect/communicate/bond
 , 3) The power of repair , 2) Give your child respect 

It is clear that a relationship where the parties are given a voice , that we all  can make mistakes and we are there to help each other repair and make amends with a better plan , that problems can be solved in a collaborative problem solving way is a respectful way in engaging with spouses and children. 

The alternative – using ' sanctions' , consequences , time –out is clearly not being respectful and does not foster secure attachments. 

 Gordon Neufeld in his book on attachment parenting ' How to hold on to your kids  writes that time-out and consequences make attachments insecure as the relationship is used as tool to manipulate behavior. Relationship and attachment is made conditional and contingent on good behavior.

But Carin Goldstein tells us to use time-out  and consequences to get control.

10) Set healthy boundaries and limits for your child – Boundaries and limits are fundamental for children in order for their world to feel safe and secure. As much as your child may (literally) kick and scream about a consequence, a time out or not wanting to keep a consistent bedtime, it is vital to your child’s well being that you, the parent, be consistent within the boundary frame which you set for them. Acting in control when your child is out of control, helps your child learn how to regulate their own emotional experience as they develop and grow.

I have written on the importance of limits and boundaries to give life structure  and predictability. 

limits - kids moral development

limits - do kids really want them?

structure - the way to freedom and autonomy

The question is not whether we have limits or boundaries but how do we set them , alone or together with kids. Do we impose our limits or boundaries to do we help kids use our general guidelines to help themselves create their own limits and boundaries as each different situation dictates. Boundaries and limits can be used to support kid's autonomy or can be used to justify more control , consequences and punishments.

 Using power and control to force a limit ignoring a kid's feelings and concerns , does not help a kid to regulate their own emotional experience . It teaches them that their needs and feelings are unimportant and in order to cope they must disown them.

The article is more about disinformation , distorting the principles of attachment parenting.

Carin Goldstein ends the article ' As much as your child comes into the world with his or her own "blueprint"/temperament, so much of his or her success in the world and in their future interpersonal relationships is largely dependent on their intimate relationship with you.

I ask Carin Goldstein -  what type of relationship do you have with  a kid if you can't talk with him and work with him to solve problems , would you consequence your husband if he acted not appropriately or would you sit down and try to collaborate and problem solve ?


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