Yesterday I was thinking of an explanation for how come our 27 month old is so sweet, loving, gentle, caring, and generally a trouble free baby. Unfortunately I can’t say that for many babies I know. It then dawned on me just how simple the reason is. We always show her our love.
Attachment parenting came naturally to us, before we even knew the term. We never assumed that our baby will know we love her and thus doesn’t really need many cuddles, affection, and a quick response to her needs. We assumed that as parents, we are the only ones that can show a baby, from birth, what love is. What is this world without love? How will they see it if we don’t show it to them?
Without much thought, we show her we love her no matter if she spilled her juice or had a bad day. Love is unconditional and if given freely and unconditionally – it will return to you. If we expect our kids to love and respect us, shouldn’t we give them the same? If they are to care about us in our old age, shouldn’t we care about them while they are young?
If you are a mother, I know you care about your children. But how do you show it to them? Is letting a baby cry it out for the sake of your sleep showing them that you care? Is making work a priority over raising children showing them that you care? If they spend their childhood in daycare won’t they have justification for putting you in a nursing home? Is yelling at a child for every wrong thing he does building his or her character and showing you care?
Is it me or does it seem not ‘mainstream’ to be close and affectionate with children? Excuse me. Harsh words, true. Why do we have children in the first place if we do not want to take the responsibility for them and teach them love? The moment they are born we detach them from ourselves. Instead of giving us, we give them a bottle. Instead of holding them close, we leave them in a crib or stroller. Instead of playing with them we stick them in a plastic exersaucer. Why do we wonder then that they throw tantrums and do everything to displease us? If we ignore them or don’t strive to please them, how can we expect them to respect and listen? If we are too busy to listen to our children, plugged into our iPhones and television sets, what can we expect from their behavior?
We didn’t plan how to raise our daughter. But somehow it felt right to give her undivided attention, to pick her up when she cries. It felt right to carry her really close and to let her see the affection between my husband and I. Instead of alienating her for wrongdoing, it felt right to put her on the lap, hug her, and explain why what she did is wrong. It proved to be more effective than raising my voice, reprimanding, or time outs. I am not perfect, but I like to share my experience. Giving love unconditionally has made this little two year old a most caring and loving baby, worth all the effort.
If we want our children loving, respectful, and close – those three things we must show them first.