this seems an easy question to answer if you simply jump the gun. the answer becomes much more difficult and complex if you seriously take the time to think about what this loaded question really implies. just like teaching, when it comes to parenting you can’t simply go through the motions day in and day out. well, let me rephrase that…yes you can go day to day, half assing your job and doing the bare minimum to get through each day and teachers and parents all around the world do this. the sad part is the results of this type of teaching/parenting are shown directly in their students and/or kids. as a past teacher, and now a parent, i get it. we all have our days where you know you’ve done your best if your kids are fed, kept safe, and put to bed. we are all human and have bad days. days we can’t perform our jobs at our peak performance. occasionally we all feel like this. the problem doesn’t arise for those teachers or parents whom have a bad day here and there. the problem occurs for those who live their life in this manner each and every day. they parent just to make it through the day. they aren’t emotionally invested in their kids. what many may not know is the direct results of your parenting are reflected in your children today and for the rest of their lives. you may notice that your child misbehaves more than the next. that your child seems angry or filled with anxiety. or maybe you haven’t taken a step back to even reflect on the behaviour of your child. if you are finding this article to ring true for you or others around you that you know, than maybe now is the time to take the time to really think about and reflect on this question. what does creating a secure-attached relationship really mean?? are you truly connected with your kids??
currently i have been reading a book by the author, Paul Tough, titled “How Children Succeed.” clicking this link will direct you to Amazon where you can purchase this book. this is a book you will want to have on hand as a parent and/or a teacher. it’s not what i would call “light” reading, but i will tell you that the information this book contains is priceless! the content hits home on so many levels that i feel obligated to share it with you! to be 100% honest with you i haven’t finished the book, but each night as i read i am amazed by the research and findings Paul speaks of. i feel confident that your outlook on parenting will change on many levels. if you aren’t as moved by this book as i am, that’s okay. i just feel that every parent, teacher, and person, for that matter, will benefit in some way from reading this book. that sounds a strong statement, but i truly believe that this book is a must read for everyone!!
the area that i’m touching on tonight, and trust me there will be many references to this book in my future posts, is this idea of creating a secure-attachment relationship with your kids. this book references multiple research studies that focus on the core reason why kids don’t succeed in life. why teens drop out of high school, gangs form, and any other negative paths young ones may take. the research has found that the main reason kids go astray is due to their lack of a secure-attached relationship with their parents. the book states that the mother figure, biological or not, is the core person for each child. that children without a secure-attached relationship with their mother have a hard time dealing with life’s stresses. they contain more anxiety, and the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in their brains are elevated from normal levels. a study performed by Egeland and Sroufe included 267 pregnant women whom were becoming first time moms. they followed these moms and their children until just recently when they published their book titled, “The Development of the Person.” i haven’t had time to read this book just yet, but i plan to. during the 30 odd years of following these newborns through their life the findings were mind-blowing! one quote that stands out and really makes me think about how important our role as a parent/mother truly is states:
“the early nurturing attention from their mothers had fostered in them a resilience that acted as a protective buffer against stress. when the regular challenges of life emerged, even years later – an open-field test, a disagreement among strong-willed kindergartners- they were able, to assert themselves, draw on reserves of self-confidence, and make their way forward.” (pg. 37)
the kids whom had mothers who didn’t take the necessary time to comfort them, love them, support them, and give them the necessary time, attention, and love in the first few formative years didn’t have these same skills to deal with life issues in kindergarten and throughout their lives. through other findings and studies they are convinced that “improving attachment is the most powerful lever they have for improving child outcomes” (pg. 40). they are finding that kids whom have had a hard upbringing, abuse, abandonment, etc. can in some words be ‘cured’ if they are given the chance to be cared for by a mother/parent whom can demonstrate and fulfill this attachment lacking. they have findings from a treatment center in Eugene, Oregon (Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers) that are baffling. when soon to be foster parents enter this 6 month training at this center which helps train them to deal with issues they may come upon with a new foster child and ways to create this so called secure-attachment relationship.
“in one experiment, after 6 months of treatment, the kids in the Fisher’s program not only showed increased evidence of secure attachemnt; they also had cortisol patterns that had shifted from dysfunctional to entriely normal.” (pg. 39)
how truly amazing the impact you, as a parent, have on your kids. we all know they need us, but how they truly need us becomes very clear in this book. they need us to be there for them emotionally and physically. not to just go through the motions each day, but to dedicate ourselves to them. to be able to support them, love them, and reassure them daily how important they truly are. the life-long effects of this are critical for success in your children. i do believe that people are products of their environment. i have written about it in past posts how there are no “good” kids and “bad” kids. it isn’t just how they are, rather it’s how they have become in the environment they are raised in. i know this was a pretty dry blog post, but i feel so passionate about how important this topic is and felt the need to share it with all of you! i hope you all get the book if you don’t already have it and please do comment directly on my site and/or email me with thoughts you may have. we all learn from each other and that’s what helps makes us better parents! i can’t wait to hear what all of you have to say!
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thank you for reading and sorry i was MIA…american thanksgiving and the holidays have got me a little bit pre-occupied, but i promise to do my best to stay in touch!