Saturday, May 1, 2010
BEiNG A BAD MOTHER...
Recently I have made the mistake to open a thread in a forum about all sorts of topics from pregnancy to parenting. I was actually looking for other parents that are interested in Pikler methods, who live them and have questions or experiences to exchange. Instead I got lots of answers criticising those methods and blaming me not showing my child enough love, not giving him enough body contact and all the entertainment it needs.
Whenever I talk about Pikler to other parents who don't know about her or know her but don't practice her methods I run against that huge concrete wall, get angry faces and this "Don't you criticise my parenting methods" attitude. I didn't even say "I think this is wrong" or "I think you shouldn't..." - I normally say "I don't..." (carry my child around all day, use a pacifier or similar) and the reply is "But you..." and then it comes. It seems that this method of raising a self respectful child is so not normal, that it is wrong.
I have to say that what I actually hear quite often between the lines is that parents just don't like those methods because it means they shouldn't use their child for entertainment all day, they can't hug and cuddle it all the time, they can't - by no means - help their child develop faster and better than others. Isn't that selfish? Am I giving birth to a child to spoil myself with a new toy? Does being small and new to this world mean the child wants to be kissed and hugged and cuddled all day? Doesn't a child deserve the right to think "Wow this is all new and unknown land to me, please leave me alone for a while and let me deal with all those new impressions." ?
Does a child WANT to be able to walk faster than others? Does he really want to be surrounded by all those educational toys that help him become a genius or at least Harvard student? As if he will never have the chance to develop when we don't push him early enough.
Quite often when our son cries it doesn't help to pick him up and carry him around. He still cries, he bends over and he pushes his little arms around like crazy. But when I don't pick him up but instead lean over in his bed, talk to him, take his tiny hand and tell him that I am here, that he just needs to calm down and sleep, he quite often calms down and in the end falls asleep. Of course I only do that when I am sure he is fed, dry etc... Yes, sometimes he starts crying again after a while and sometimes I let him. And he falls asleep again because he was just tired and frustrated with something I couldn't help him anyway. So I let him be frustrated as much as we need to be angry from time to time. That doesn't mean I let him alone.
It is about patience and learning that we don't have all the power about the child. That the child is a human being that needs his own space for his body but also for his feelings just like we do.
Unfortunately all this slow and of course more nerve wrecking process seems like torture for parents who practice the "I carry my child around all day because he or she WANTS that". And therefore I am a bad mother not loving my child enough.
Can those people please realise that there are other ways to calm a crying child down and that other people use other methods? And that those methods have successfully been adapted by other parents who raised self respectful kids who are happy and feel loved?