"34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Certainly our innocent children are "the least of these my brethren" and are deserving of our service.
One of the biggest criticisms of attachment parenting is the incorrect assumption that attached parents don't discipline their children. Some people see discipline as only punishment and it's true that punishment is typically not a component of attachment parenting. But discipline is far more than punishment. The true goal of discipline, after all, is to teach.
Parents who subscribe to a lifestyle of attachment parenting begin disciplining their children very early on - often at birth, in fact.
The very first discipline is a readiness of the parents to consistently and compassionately respond to an infant's needs. This builds the relationship necessary to develop a conscience guided by her own internal discipline and a genuine concern for others.
As children grow and develop, efforts to discipline our children involve such techniques as prevention, distraction, and substitution. For instance, with a toddler we prevent situations wherein a toddler might behave in socially inappropriate ways. We create environments that permit safe and free exploration and learning. We use distraction and substitution in environments that aren't child-friendly.
We try to envision the world through their eyes and empathize with the child as she learns through the natural consequences of her actions. We strive to understand what our child's behavior is communicating and work with the child to resolve conflicts in a way that leaves everyone's dignity intact.
We learn to understand developmentally appropriate behaviors and tailor our guidance to the needs and temperaments of our individual children.
And one of the most important disciplinary techniques used in attachment parenting families is modeling positive actions and relationships. Children learn most effectively in the early years by modeling our behaviors. Showing appropriate social relationships and interactions is the most effective way to teach a young child.
Creating a "yes" environment, phrasing requests in the affirmative, and the use of natural consequences are all keystones of gentle discipline. When logical consequences are necessary they are used sparingly and always with compassion.
For a person unfamiliar with gentle discipline it looks like a lot of talk and may appear that the parent isn't "doing" anything about the child's behavior. But gentle discipline is a longitudinal approach based in relational development and not simply a response to an individual behavior.
If you'd like to learn more about gentle discipline, I'd suggest the following resources:
by Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD
ADVENTURES IN GENTLE DISCIPLINE: A Parent-to-Parent Guide
by Hillary Flower
Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery
by Judy Arnall
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joy
by Naomi Aldort
Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children
by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker
(these links are Amazon Associate links)
This post has been linked to a Homemaking Link-up at Raising Homemakers.
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!