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Pagan Parenting

An Introduction to Attachment Parenting

Did you carry your son around in a sling during his fussy times as a baby with the sense that it would help him?  Do you bend down and look in your daughter’s eyes when trying to discipline her?  Do you treat your teenager with respect and listen to their desires before you give them an answer?  Then you are practicing Attachment Parenting and you may have not even known it.

Attachment Parenting is a term that was coined by Dr. William Sears.  His life’s work as a father and pediatrician along with the insight and mothering of his wife Nancy and the raising of 8 children led to instincts that many parents use routinely being given a terminology.

Before you start to worry about not having time to read about how to parent or think that your child is a pre-teen and as such will not benefit from these ideas please don’t worry.  These theories are based on what so many parents already do.  Also you may think these are for the more “granola style” pagans who choose to breastfeed, co-sleep or wear colorful slings but it goes way beyond political leanings or lifestyle trends.   The fundamental goal of attachment parenting is to: “raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection.”  Regardless of political leanings or whether you work for a corporation or a non-profit we all strive to raise children who will have empathy for others and seek out positive connections with their fellow human beings.  So this method is a win/win for society in general.

As the title suggests this is an introduction to this method.  There are many great resources that you can look to for further guidance on this topic.  I merely endeavor today to peak your interest and to relate how important I feel this style is to the pagan community.  There isn’t a “pagan way” to parent but to me this back to basics philosophy is as close as humanity as a whole can get to a real and respectful way to bring up children.

Attachment Parenting has eight main principals of parenting.  These are a base line that you can build on and develop to fit your family’s needs and goals.

  • Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  • Feed with Love and Respect
  • Respond with Sensitivity
  • Use Nurturing Touch
  • Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  • Provide Consistent and Loving Care
  • Practice Positive Discipline
  • Strive for Balance in your Personal and Family Life

There is no way for us to be like this every moment of every day but we can let these principals guide us as we move through the struggles and triumphs of parenting.  What these points say to me is that parenting needs to be simple and come from a place that is genuine.  What I mean by that is that yes, there are only so many hours in a day.  So today I choose to make a healthy meal for my child, to read a few books, take a walk in nature, and tell lots of silly jokes.  Today I will not worry that the floor hasn’t been washed yet, I won’t yell because the milk spilled all over the table at dinner and I will say thanks but no thanks when my buddy wants to play golf again this week.

Parenting is a marathon, the longest one in life and the balance of personal and family and I would even add work life into that equation as well is tough.  But we decide what type of parent we will be in each moment.  I see Attachment Parenting as a reminder and a resource when situations arise that leave me wondering what to do.  Right now I am learning about positive discipline and how to create structure and rules while being mindful of the developmental stage that my child is in.  Some behaviors are about being 8 years old more than about being difficult or disrespectful.  Navigating the waters of what those may be alone seems like taking too much of a chance with a very important job.  Pagans are good at searching out information and informing ourselves about our spiritual matters and we should approach parenting with that same enthusiasm.

If you search for books on Attachment Parenting you will find many.  I recommend Dr. William Sears as his books have helped me.  I would also encourage you to visit Attachment Parenting International’s site and have a look around.  There you will find the principals in more depth.  Happy parenting!