Sending your infant or young child off to daycare or pre-school for the first time can be heart wrenching – for BOTH to you.
Suddenly, the baby you cared for so carefully will be in the hands of others. This can cause parents to feel more anxious than they anticipated feeling! Often parents feel a loss of control over their child’s care and wellbeing. Fear, guilt, and regret may follow.
So many parents have read Dr. William Sears’ books and tried to approximate his description of attachment parenting. But how many knew that he and his wife developed these ideas not based on research, but based on their own reactions to their difficult childhoods?
It’s very challenging to adhere to his description of ideal attachment parenting (utilizing the co-sleeping technique, wearing the baby, and being as available to the infant and toddler as he suggests), especially for parents who work outside the home, have older children, or have to meet additional family demands.
Now, if the Sears’ work were based on solid longitudinal research, that would be one thing. It would behoove parents to make the sacrifices necessary to adopt some or many of his strategies. However, as it turns out, his theories are not research-based, but are rooted in his and his wife’s fantasies of what would have been better for them as children.
Clearly, a generation of parents have been strongly influenced by the Sears. And for those who were able to take the advice with several grains of salt and to apply their techniques when and where possible, babies may have benefitted from the closeness and attunement of these parents. But MANY parents have suffered the guilt of knowing they were not able to adopt these strategies due to limitations of time, money, energy, etc. And these parents have definitely been done a disservice by the Sears.
Grandmothers and mothers with more than one child have always known that babies come into the world with their own personalities. But first time parents often suffer, wondering if it’s their fault that their baby cries easily, or seems too sensitive, or is slow to walk, or…
See the recent New York Times article below for more on the importance of temperament in understanding your baby:
Bidi McSorley, M.D. is a wonderful pediatrician and teacher of mindfulness for parents in the Philadelphia area. Dr. McSorley has been a pediatrician for 30 years, a meditator for over 10 years, and an instructor for the Penn Program for Mindfulness. She has kindly agreed to be our guest blogger this month!
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention in the present moment, on purpose and without judgments. It is being with whatever is (good or bad, desired or not wanted), and not pushing the experience away or holding onto it. It is having equanimity.
Circle of Security, a training program for mental health professionals and parent educators, produced this brief, informative video on the theory of attachment and its benefits for parenting. If you’re interested in how to apply attachment research to your work with children at home or in the office, check it out!
Dr. Corinne Masur It’s almost fall and you know what that means: time for summer sales and back to school shopping. But how do you shop with children in tow? It can be tough to entertain kids while running errands, particularly when it involves multiple stops and hunting for deals. Here are some helpful hints: Continue reading →
A reader of this blog suggested to me that it would be helpful for parents of young children if we were more specific – particularly about such things as when to help our children and when to wait and see whether they are capable of doing certain things themselves. In the spirit of specifics, we present: A Guide to Raising Competent and Confident Children by Allowing Them to Experience FrustrationContinue reading →
So far, Dr. Fran has answered questions about selecting a preschool, adolescent emotions, and toddler interactions on the Ask Dr. Fran page.
Do you have questions about parenting? Send them to: