Google+ Authentic Parenting: Nothing to Prove?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nothing to Prove?

Written by Morgan Khalsa Kaur

As an ‘attachment parenting’ mother I’ve put myself in the line of fire of a lot of criticism. I’ve been accused of spoiling my son: being responsible for his ‘clingy’ behaviour because I respond to his requests for cuddles and breastfeeding; creating a rod for my own back with a child that will never leave my bed; and ‘trying to protect my son from the outside world forever’.

The worm seems to have turned. Recently I’ve had a lot of compliments on my son: he’s independent, he’s secure, even-tempered, ‘fearless’, confident and trusting of people, and he knows what he wants (which could be taken either way I suppose).
I never know quite how to take these remarks. He’s his own person, after all. He came into the world with his own character, which responds to what goes on around him, but he was definitely, quintessentially himself from the beginning.
But I do think that had his dependency needs been denied and ignored, or only erratically responded to, we would perhaps be seeing a very different picture.

Attachment parenting ‘guru’ Dr William Sears writes about ‘shutdown syndrome’. This is where babies who are left in their cots a lot and not carried around or picked up when they cry, become withdrawn, apathetic, and unresponsive. They can even lose weight and fail thrive. In his ‘Attachment Parenting’ book he includes an account from parents who remark how easy their three year old is to discipline, thanks to the strong bond that has been formed through attachment parenting.
Re-reading that recently, I realised how what seemed to be a never ending cycle of meeting the needs of a baby and young toddler has had a lot to do with my son now feeling safe to come out into the world and show us all he’s got.
And although I know things could change at any time, I’m still waiting for the onslaught of the ‘terrible twos’. Most difficulties are ironed out in the context of our strong relationship and my son’s ability to communicate his feelings.
Yet I find it challenging to fully internalise this ‘success’. Why is that? Maybe it’s because parents are given the blame for children with ‘problems’, yet there are never headlines about what a wonderful mother a Nobel Prize winner is.

I would love to get to the point where I truly feel I have nothing to prove as a parent, even to myself. Although my parenting journey has helped me more than anything else to start trusting my own instincts, I still need feedback from others to confirm that I am on the right track. And maybe that’s okay. In the meantime, I’m starting to take in the vantage point from where I am, right now: and it’s really quite good.

Morgan Khalsa Kaur is a writer, Kundalini Yoga teacher, and mother to nearly-three-year-old Jude, her biggest teacher. She loves writing and performing poetry, walking in nature and rediscovering it with her son. She is passionate about parenting and birthing consciously and is also a trainee Breastfeeding Counsellor. Her blog is at Mind the Gap and some of her poems appear on My Space. Morgan lives in Brighton, England, and is currently working on a novel. 



  1. It's natural to seek validation from the mother culture. Ours doesn't (usually) give that to activities outside its normal understanding, so we are left wanting (ironically, much like a child who seeks the attached relationship with his mother). You will probably never feel that 'ease' because of this, but that does not mean you have not treated your child biologically appropriately. You can be satisfied you have done what nature requires. I salute you! I am doing the same with my children too.

  2. I love this read. I was just thinking these same thoughts today, although not in a self critical format. I was asking, why is it I didn't formula feed, leave my baby to cry-it-out, to self soothe, don't spoil the child, use the rod, sleep alone, use the play pen vs baby wear, leave my baby sitting in her urine vs diaper free (EC)? That is all I knew grewing up.

    I could say I am AP mom out of love. But that isn't being honest. I am an AP mom because my instincts tell me to be. The one time I allowed my baby to sleep in a crib, only 3 hours in the night, I woke up in hysterics, crying. Never again did I let my "family", friends, or society tell me different. I let the animal in me out.

    I know have the same fearless child, self confident, loving. Still only a toddler but I am not expecting "terrible twos". If you expect something, you set yourself up to get it, and you may, involantarily, began to cause the terrible reactions associated with the "TTs".

    That fact you let your animal out to care for your child. The animal that has helped us survive as a species, instead of allowing the world to brainwash you into doing something diffrent, is a trait to be admired.

  3. I agree with letting the animal out... that's a beautiful contemplation


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