In a world that tells us our babies and toddlers need to be independent as soon as possible, shout out to all the parents letting their children rest in attachment.
It's not always easy to tune out the baby books, the 'experts', the pediatricians, or the comments from family and friends in favour of tuning into our child and what THEY are telling us they need.
I know it can be really confusing when all we hear is that we need to put our babies and toddlers down. That they need to sleep independently. That they need to play independently. That they need to be socialized. That they need to learn how to separate from us. Yet all we FEEL is a deep need to keep them close.
The thing is, we don't need to teach or even prepare for separation. And we certainly don't teach resilience by purposely creating difficult situations for our children. In fact, providing attachment, closeness, connection and refuge in the face of all the the difficult situations our children already face each day is the best thing we can do to set them up for security-based independence and resilience.
When I allow my daughter to take her attachment with me for granted, and rest in the ease of knowing me and her other caregivers are always near by and available, she can divert her energy to playing, learning and exploring. She feels safe in the knowledge that her need for closeness (ie: safety and security in the eyes of the child) will always be respected. She does not have to figure out what to do to survive or gain my attention, love or care. She has it, unconditionally, at all hours of the day or night, regardless of where we are and who we're with. She has it.
This is not the same same saying we as primary caregivers dare not leave our children for the next 5+ years for fear of creating separation based anxiety. In fact, I'm a big advocate for bringing caring, loving and committed adults into our child's village of attachment so that we aren't faced with the task of mothering alone.
But whether our children are two weeks, two months, or two and a half years, the focus for them is the same : attachment. The real key, to true independence, is in first inviting their dependence 🖤
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