I am incredibly happy to bring to you guys a guest post from Modern Alternative Mama‘s own Kate! We’ll have our own guest post on her blog soon, so go follow her blog so you don’t miss anything from us as well.
Now, I say that because I am a mom who is both Christian, and I follow Attachment Parenting (AP). (Yes – it happens! And eek, a Christian who thinks outside the box!) I’m surrounded by a lot of other Christian moms who don’t parent the way I do – at all. They put their babies in their own rooms from day 1 and let them cry it out by three or four months of age. They swear this is what parenting is all about, because the children “have to learn to self-soothe” and “they slept so much better after!” Sure they did – because they learned you’re not coming.
Small rant: If you CIO before your baby is at least 8 months of age and has achieved “object permanence” – the understanding that things do continue to exist when out of site – you are basically committing abuse. Your baby does not understand that you are coming back. He really thinks you have ceased to exist forever.
That’s not the point, really, though. The point is that I am the Christian mom – who goes to church and prays with my children and teaches them about Jesus – and I wear them, co-sleep with them, breastfeed them, don’t vaccinate them, etc. People at the church are always giving me sideways looks like, how can you be a Christian and parent like that?!
Guess what? It’s called compassion. Jesus taught about that, have you heard? Do you think that He would refuse to pick up a crying baby? Did you know it’s in the Bible that babies nursed until around age two? Babies were frequently worn in Biblical times because the moms were busy and they didn’t have bouncy seats and exersaucers and all the trappings we have today. What I’ve read in the Bible much more closely matches my parenting style than of someone who says they’re using “Biblical Child Training.”
What about discipline? That’s probably the most common area. I definitely discipline my children. And although I know this departs from a lot of you, I do (gasp!) spank them from time to time, for serious or repeated offenses, when they are old enough to understand. I don’t spank babies. I don’t spank for stupid little infractions. No, I believe that a lot of their misbehavior is due to two things: 1) Simply being too young to understand/have self control (my kids are 2.5 years and 15 months) and 2) My problems. Yes, ME. If they are grumpy and rude and acting out, it’s usually because I am grumpy and rude and acting out. It’s time for me to change my attitude first.
All that said, yes, running in the street or leaving the room and taking an elevator by yourself to a different floor in the hotel is going to bring on some trouble (yes… my daughter has done both of these things). But I think it’s most important to ask yourself: what could I have done to prevent these things? What could I have done to create a safe, yes-environment instead of what happened?
The Biblical moms are shaking their heads at me now. “You have to teach them better!” they insist. “They should do what you say, not what you do! Win every battle at all costs!”
To them I say, good luck in the teen and adults years! You will need it.
It’s possible to be a good Christian mother and still be sensitive to your childrens’ needs. It’s what Jesus would want, right?