A journey in to Gentleness

I read a few books on Christian childcare and decided that if that was how I was going to treat my children then I couldn’t possibly have any.  They talked potty training a kid by hosing him off outside if he had an accident.  Books commented that if spanks weren’t working they should apply them harder and more often.  They said a lot of other horrible stuff, none of which was in the Bible, but appeared to be the norm among well behaved, happy children.  Except for the times the kids were crying themselves to sleep.  Then they were manipulative little bastards.

It seemed like there had to be a choice.  It was Jesus and Christian Childcare, or the type of attentive kindness I saw and read about in other circles.

In sixth grade I read a paragraph about a tribe that carried their children in backpack type carriers all the time.  They’d work, cook, whatever with their kids on their back from the time the babies were newborn and the time they could be independent.  They’d breastfeed, although I wasn’t aware of how important that was, I thought that was interesting, too.  They’d sleep alongside their children. I decided, in that paragraph, however weird it was, I was going to parent like that.

Fast forward 15+ years later.  I read the books, I make my vow to never have children.  Then I got pregnant, on purpose to a Christian guy who told me during courtship that I was going to have to do the spanking because he couldn’t stomach it.  I considered this revolutionary.  I typed in a bunch of search terms and ran in to a lot of porn, and ultimately found “Christian Attachment Parenting” to give me what I was looking for.

Dr. Sears became an icon in our family.  He advocated just about everything we believed in as parents and Christians.  I found Gentle Christian Mothers, a source for families and their children for all things gentle:  Pregnancy, childbirth, parenting through the ages and more.  I signed up and learned a lot.  I also found Christian criticism of the parenting-guru’s I had such problems with.

I didn’t know there was such controversy and anger about the whole parenting situation.  To tell you the truth, I can be very naive.  I tried to share the information I had about parenting and closeness, but people were not receptive.  I consider many of those adherents to be just as naive as I was.  (I am still quite naive though.)  And I believe that kind of parenting can be dangerous.  The only danger to an attachment parenting life style is “spoiling”.  I have read a little story about a family who spanked their infant for crying because she wanted to be held.  If I have a choice between “spoiling” and “failure to thrive” or “attachment disorder” I’ll will pick the later.

Who the heck can tell me exactly what “spoiling” looks like in an infant?  It is too late for us, though.  Small is happy, generous and goes to bed on her own.  She escaped what the deterrents warned me against.   So far.


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