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Saturday, 01 October 2011 23:33

Connected Parenting

I began reading a book recently called 'Connected Parenting', by Jennifer Kolari.  I had never heard of 'connected parenting' before but fully expected to disagree with it entirely.   I personally find myself dismissing anything that seems related to 'Attachment Parenting' (which I, admittedly, don't know very much about), and presumed that although I was interested in reading this book for scholarly reasons, I would find nothing of use to myself.

I was very wrong.

The basic point of this book (so far) is to encourage parents to empathize with their children.  This may seem like common sense, but as I read on, some of the examples given by the author reminded me of some of my own frustrations in childhood.  I have an excellent relationship with my father, but I was continually frustrated by his attempts to 'fix' each and every situation I found myself in.  I have learned that even now I cannot tell him about a negative experience I have had, without an "It will all be ok because..." or "Next time do this differently...", etc.  Now, he means well and in retrospect I realize that this is a completely natural response for me also - this is what we do.  What I wanted from my Dad as a child, and still do, is for him to just LISTEN, with maybe a 'Yeah, that sucks' every so often.   'Connected Parenting' outlines exactly how to do that, and although at times her examples are a little extreme and it sometimes seems like a long-winded response to a very simple question, it may not be easy for many people to do.  Particularly if, like myself, they have grown up with a very different 'norm'.

I was discussing some of the principles Kolari mentions with my husband this morning, and having decided a while ago that parenting by instinct is the best way to go, he immediately got defensive and started outlining reasons why her theories were wrong.  I don't deny there may be holes in any theory - and not everything will work for all families - but I have come to a sort of agreement with myself;  In the future when I pick up a book to read (and I plan to read as many as I can get my hands on, as a scholar-mom), I will assume that it will contain something valuable for me to learn.  I think most of us can admit that there may have been some behaviors passed down to us through generations that may not be helping us to be the best people - or parents - that we can be, and if my reading can bring my attention to these things, I want to be ready to learn.

I came back to my husband later in the day and asked him to consider adopting a similar philosophy.  I mentioned how our relationship has not been perfect - how each of us does things in ways that we think are normal and beneficial because that is how our parents treated each other, or whatever.  I don't think there's a relationship out there that doesn't have some imperfections in this behavioral 'code' we all have in us, so personally, I don't see how we can assume that our instincts will be correct in all circumstances either.

Maybe that's just me.

Read 1261 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:43

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