Friday, January 25, 2013

Gentle Parenting

As parents, my  husband and I identify with an "attachment parenting" style.  We follow most of the principles such as babywearing, bed-sharing, breastfeeding and gentle parenting.  By this I mean listening to my child's needs and desires and cues.  When he was a newborn, he cried mainly when he was hungry and as long as I watching his cues, he didn't even need to cry before I realized he was hungry.  Nowadays he cries mostly when he's tired.  We can notice tired signs before crying like rubbing his eyes or even just slowing down his actions.  By watching our child, we meet his needs without him having to cry.
In regards to crying, this is one reason we won't be "crying it out" (CIO).  We do not like to hear him cry (but who does) and even though he can be up many times a night and sometimes is fussy for a bit at night, it isn't to the point where we would implement sleep training.  I was talking to my mother-in-law about how I don't NEED to do it right now, I am getting *enough* sleep even if it is broken sleep.  She agreed that maybe if I was working 40+ hours a week and/ or had other kids to attend to, it might be neccesary and we agreed that it DOES work but it's not something we would do.  I know many people who it was a miracle sleep cure for them!  But for me, it may work but at what cost?  I can survive right now without CIO.
I didn't cosleep as a baby with my parents (I did bedshare with my sister for a time, not as a baby though) but I can still remember climbing into their bed at night as a child when I had a bad dream or needed a cuddle.  I will never forget how they welcomed me and how cozy and protected I felt.  I hope my son grows up feeling that.

Now for the real reason I wrote this post...

I am *really* tired of hearing people talk about their kids like they are a huge burden.  Between a woman telling me that when she found her child sleeping on the ground next to her bed and marching her back to bed with a warning that if she does it again, she will be marched right back where she came from, to people joking that they only had kids to clean, etc. to the woman that told me she didn't know if teething affected her daughter cause when she put her to bed at night, she didn't see her til morning, no matter what.  Now these might be exaggerations or jokes but I do not find them funny.  They are disrespectful to your child and embarrassing.  It is not funny to hear one's parent say "I had you so I wouldn't have to clean anymore" instead of because you love them.  I will hope to never say these things to my children as it is not gentle, respectful parenting.  Are they supposed to treat me with respect if I don't treat them with respect?
Some people may think it's silly to particuarly treat a baby/ toddler/ child with respect but it will then teach them to respect others.  I don't think it's a coincidence that when a teen is treated respectfully at my job that he is (usually) polite in return but the same young man, will be rude to someone that treats him like an inferior.  Children are not inferior to adults because they are younger.  They are human beings that are our equals and our future.  I do believe in respecting your elders but those elders should treat others with respect in return.

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