Miss Obnoxious (12yrs old) and her mom, Mrs. Subservient, sat down at craft flea market one morning. Miss Obnoxious wanted to sell
some of her knick knacks and among them were some beads for threading.
Another little girl comes to enquirer about the beads and mrs.
Subservient begins to help the little girl with threading the beads. All
through, Miss Obnoxious tells her mother how good she is at threading
the beads and how she could easily teach the little girl *if* she asked
her. Mrs. Subservient smiles and agrees and continues helping the girl
by asking, which bead do *you* think should go on next? Always praising
and sometimes saying. Oh, I'm not too sure about this way, how about
this way?.... always sounding positive.
After 15 minutes of opening 'shop' Miss Obnoxious starts saying no body is buying her knick knacs. In a flash, Mrs Subservient says, "then I think we should pack up and go. We shall not stay." And they packed up and left!
(She was truly obnoxious!!)
They were doing something different at KK Hospital when no. 6 was born in june 2012. They were encouraging mothers who have just given birth to hold their infants "skin to skin" for one hour after birth. That struck me as, I guess, weird, but now I know where it comes from- Attachment Parenting. (And I told the nurse, no need lah. Lol)
I do not claim to be an expert on Attachment Parenting but I have read up on its history and what proponents of AP say. It is such a popular and widely practiced parenting style. I'm pretty sure it only became popular not more than 20 years ago in Singapore. My mother certainly didn't carry me around in a carrier and say positive encouraging things to me! I recognize the characteristics of AP and have observed it in other families, read it in the news, etc.
Because I have been parenting my six children for these 13 years based on something different- the Biblical Parenting approach, for want of a *term*, I'll just share what stands out to me as different when comparing the two parenting approaches. It is by no means exhaustive but as I look deeper into the differences, I am coming to see how anti-bible and anti-God AP actually is. Ok, keep an open mind, hear me out.:) I hope that Christian parents out there will take the time to carefully take AP and place it under the microscopic lens of the Bible. Perhaps you will come to the same conclusion.
I'm pretty sure everyone's experience is going to be different. Some have shared Oh, AP has saved my baby's life, or AP has been the ruination of our family life etc. It's kinda anecdotal. Sometimes, one's experience can totally skew the decision for or against.
It's also difficult to nail down why AP works or doesn't work because everyone's definition is somewhat different. And definitely, there are some overlaps between the two, they are not mutually exclusive.
So, let's just look at the two approaches in the "purest form" (minus variations, as per what the proponents/bible says), analyze them by the general operating principles of the two approaches and look at the fruits of it.
Developing a Deep Relationship in the Early Years through "Attachment"
Parent (mother) developing a deep relationship through feeding/nursing, co-sleeping, communicating, understanding baby's needs and meeting those needs, play, baby wearing etc. etc.
I do not practice AP, but i do practise this as this to me is common sense PARENTING. (Having said that, I realize these days, common sense is not common anymore. ) ok, we may differ on bits about co-sleeping or demand feeding or carrying your baby everywhere but I'll say, being the main caregiver to your baby (versus, say, mother going off to work, leaving baby in the care of others) is "where the tyre meets the road" parenting is about, AP or no AP.
Definitely, babies need security. They were made to instinctively need their mother's care and comfort. Their world is right and settled when they know mommy is near. Their world is unsettled when mommy is gone. Sure, they can (like their mommies) deaden their tender hearts to adapt to life without mommy for prolonged hours. They will attach to someone or something else. They will learn love is transactional when the maid they have become so attached to leaves because their contract is up or when they are moved from infant care to child care class and class after class after class...
As for Biblical Parenting, the bible says women ought to stay at home and care for their children:
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5 KJV)
Let's look at the Goals
The goals of AP is that the child grows confident and emotionally grounded, having their needs for trust and affection well met, he will move from being a receiver to becoming a giver of care and love to others.
The goals of biblical parenting is that the child should grow in greater
dependence and obedience to God, and all that that entails (becoming a
godly man or woman).
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5 KJV)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 KJV)
Methods to reach those goals
AP: positive parenting. Building self esteem. Gentle instruction. Loads of praise and physical contact (hugs and kisses). Going wherever the child's passions and inclinations lead. Going with whatever will make the child feel good about themselves.
Things an AP parent would say:
What would YOU like to do today?
Do you want to wear pink or blue today? Oh you want Purple? That's a great choice!
You don't have to eat that if you don't feel like it.
(Child is throwing a tantrum and on the floor) Come baby, let's go and see if there are any birdies at the window? Do you want a snack now? Can I get you another toy?
Things a bible minded parent would say (and please imagine these being said in a firm but gentle voice):
Today we are going to the zoo, let's pray that it won't rain!
No, child, you cannot have more than one. And please take turns.
No snatching, you need to share.
Give thanks for the food and finish up what's on your plate.
Do you want to obey mama or do you want a spanking? Or
You need to obey mama, or you will receive a spanking.
AP puts the child's personality, inclinations, fancies at the centre of decision making.
Biblical parenting places the decision making on the shoulders of the parents. Parents are to instruct, lead, and guide.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; .........Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1, 2, 5 KJV)
My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. (Proverbs 6:20-22 KJV)
Discipline and correction of the child.
Some say AP is not anti-discipline (use of the rod, physical punishment) but from many of the websites I've read, AP is about building up the child's self esteem by correcting the child in a gentle, non-confrontational way.
"Practice Positive Discipline -- There is a strong push against physical punishment in recent years, but research shows that all forms of punishment, including punitive timeouts, can not only be ineffective in teaching children boundaries in their behavior but also harmful to psychological and emotional development. Parents are encouraged to teach by example and to use non-punitive discipline techniques such as substitution, distraction, problem solving, and playful parenting. Parents do not set rules so that their child obeys for the sake of structure, but rather to be the teacher, the coach, the cheerleader, and the guidepost as the child develops his or her own sense of moral responsibility within the construct of the family value system."
Really? Research shows ALL forms of punishment are harmful? Sounds so scientific and convincing.
askdrsears.com is kinda wishy washy about how *exactly* does an AP parent discipline her child. Apparently "one look" is enough to mentally convey to the child to stop misbehaving.
AP- misbehavior is attributed to some kind of tangled neurological disconnectedness in the baby's brain. (The Cantonese call it "qi seen". Just kidding.) AP's roots are, after all, in psychology, psychoanalysis. See John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.
Biblical parenting- misbehavior is a result of our Adamic sin nature. It is part of man's nature to misbehave and do wrong. Without having being taught to, a child will misbehave! The Bible instructs parents to use both the rod and reproof to actively train the child, and shape the child's behaviour and thinking.
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (James 4:1 KJV)
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15 KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)
I know some parents feel that they grew up under tyrannical parents who caned them without reason and so they would swing to the other extreme in their own parenting approach. I empathize that these might truly be scarred in some ways because of their childhood encounters. But as God's people, we need to look at what God's prescription is for child training and follow it, if we believe He is the Creator and the bible His designer's operation manual for man.
AP proponents claim the AP children will switch form being receivers of care and empathy to becoming givers of care and empathy, or whatever they have experienced, they will then practice on others.
This is my main 'thing' against AP. It's a leap of logic. I really don't see how if a child is trained to think he is the centre of the universe, why would he then begin to reverse that training, remove himself from the seat of power and then treat someone else as the centre of the universe? Where would the impetus for change within the child's mind come from?
Hence my statement (on FB): Attachment parented babies/ toddlers grow into attention needy children who grow into self centred teens.
The product of an AP approach will tend towards a proud, arrogant and over-confident person. In other words: me, me, me.
Pride is the chiefest sin that God hates:
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19 KJV)
Godly attributes we want to see in our children are kids who are confident, independent, yet humble and meek. I'm sure we can picture such children. For instance if a child is unknowingly disturbing an adult and the adult tells him to stop, I think most people would like to see a child who would apologize and stop disturbing. We would frown on a child who would turn around and tell that adult off!
The Bible says that man is already born loving himself and does not need to be taught to love himself but it is unnatural for man to love others the way they love themselves, hence a commandment to do so.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:37-39 KJV)
The bible demonstrates on several occasions how when one is treated well, the tendency is to forget and not return the kindness and even turn from God.
Deuteronomy 11: Israel is told that they will possess a land overflowing with milk and honey, they will live in houses that they didn't build. And yet they forgot God and followed after idols despite God's warnings not to forget Him.
Luke 17 tells so ten lepers who were healed and only one came back to thank and worship Jesus.
Biblical Parenting teaches a child to have empathy and love for others through acts of self denial ("wait your turn", "share your toys") and humility ("say sorry", "ask for forgiveness") and yes, difficulties and trials too. God uses trials and tribulations, the Refiner's fire to mold His children. And there is a place for hardship in training our children.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-5 KJV)
So is AP ok if we only have one child? (since AP places such a heavy load on the parent to help/serve the child.)
An AP child is trained to believe his opinion is more important than mom's or dad's. The whole family moves according to his timing. Mommy is the child's butler. ;)
I personally would not practice AP even if I had only one child because I want my child to know that God (not themselves, nor mommy nor daddy) is the "centre of the universe".
In fact, Lucifer's sin was that he wanted to be like the Most High, he wanted to usurp the place of God. And till this day we see man's thinking still taking on the form of Lucifer's original sin of pride.
You know, it left a firm impression in my mind (more like a sour taste) about how full of herself Miss Obnoxious was and how her mother did everything to place her in a "feel good about yourself" bubble and shield her from anything negative.
Do you think she will grow up and face the real world and thrive?