Attachment Parenting. There are so many people who believe that attachment parenting is not the Christian way to parent. That fostering attachment is somehow unimportant, or that the “biblical” way to parent (with spanking) will not interfere with attachment. The Bible says to spank, they say, so I’m going to spank. Well, technically, it says to beat with a rod, but let’s just skirt that entire argument and move on to a different passage.The Gospels warn us against taking the wide, easy path. Instead we are to take the narrow path, which is presumably more difficult.
Now, when Wally refuses to cooperate, or he hits (which is still somewhat of a problem around here), how should I handle it, in light of this idea? Let’s say that I’ve tolld Wally he needs to do something and he refuses. Stubbornly yells NO and just refuses to cooperate. What’s easy? What’s the wide path, if that can be measured by what “most people” in a society do? Stepping close and smacking him a good one, show that kid who’s boss. What’s hard? What’s the narrow path? Taking a moment to breathe deeply. Ignoring those around me, silently pressuring me to show that kid who’s boss. Seeing it from his angle. Being patient, gentle. Trying to come up with a way around the argument, or a way to still get my way but while leaving his dignity – and mine – intact.
What if Wally’s having a difficult time dealing with a given situation? It’s just one little meltdown after another. Yet I’m trying to participate in whatever activity is at hand. What’s easy? Punishing him for being difficult, persisting in getting my way by staying to “enjoy” myself (though how much enjoyment can you have when your child is being a pain?). What’s hard? Doing what’s best for him by removing us both from the situation, taking some time to calm down, do something else, step away from the craziness.
This is not taking the easy way out. This is not trying to force my will upon someone else, to control them, to make him mind. This is striving towards my ultimate goal – creating a human being.
But beyond the wide path and the narrow path, there’s also the fact that God has given us a great example to follow in parenting – Himself. How does He treat us when we say, basically, “No, God, I don’t want to do what You want, I want to do what I want. You have told me You want me to do X, but darnit, I’m not going to.” Does he reach down and smack us a good one? No, not even figuratively. There are consequences for our actions, sure. But, generally, I believe God is very gentle with us. He talks to us with His quiet, still voice. He gently guides us back to the right path.
But even more importantly, He doesn’t make us EARN His love. He loves us no matter what. How could we treat our own children any differently?