Our approach to bringing up our child is driven by empathy and trying to understand the world from their perspective. We all too often encounter parents and parenting styles who base their decisions upon what’s best for the parents and not what’s best for the child. We feel that the child should always be at the centre of all decisions effecting them.
Sadly, in the self obsessed, insecure society we live in, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Parents clothe their children in items with slogans aimed at the parents, for the parents. We see slogans such as “I love my mummy and daddy” and can’t help but wonder if it’s the parents own insecurities being soothed or their thoughts and hopes being portrayed through their child. It’s clothing not designed for the child, but for the parents own sanctimony and often passed off or justified as being cutesy! Some practice controlled crying or ‘cry it out’, a technique that merely teaches your child to give up, give up crying, give up expending precious energy trying to get the parents attention. It merely stifles the childs external pleas for attention and exacerbates the stress it already feels. Dream feeds are used to keep the baby asleep and “sleep through”, again for the parents benefit. Much to the detriment of the child as dream feeds (including other regimented feeding schedules) merely teach the baby to eat when they’re not hungry and these patterns can be carried into later life.
Whilst we appreciate these strategies can help make things more bearable for parents of babies who are ever demanding, they come with their own set of compromises, often negative for the child. Most parents, knowing that their decisions could impart some negative outcomes upon their child, would refrain from doing so. This is the crux of the issue, many parents are unaware of the potential negative effects. We need to banish the false teachings of “Baby Whisperers” such as Gina Ford and embrace our children’s needs and respond to them with empathy, understanding their needs and acknowledging in kind.
What we’re really trying to illustrate is how much modern parenting styles are parent focused. When they should be, for the most part, child focused. We need to focus on the larger picture and the long term effects of our decisions. Putting the child at the very core and doing what’s in his or her best interests, both short and long term, should be sacrosanct.
To help us muddle our way through decisions, we very often ask ourselves “Is this decision based on our own wants and needs or our child’s?”. Sometimes we catch ourselves erring the wrong way, but the ability to be mindful, objective and open to our own selfishness helps us keep decisions focused on what’s important, the child.