Attachment parenting is not for me. I don’t like people hanging on me or touching me all the time, and I hate being tethered. But who knew it was so controversial?
Bad for the kids… bad for the marriage… bad for the mom… are these accusations true?
After reading about Mayim Bialik’s book and other “out there” attachment parents, I decided to analyze my feelings, and here’s the conclusion I came to. I don’t know if attachment parenting ultimately produces: better or worse kids; kids that are more neurotic or more confident; more exhausted or more serene parents. All I know is that I couldn’t do it.
What impressed me about Mayim is that she didn’t seem to arrive at this parenting approach emotionally, based on her personality. She arrived at it, initially, scientifically.
“Writing her Ph.D. thesis on the role of hormones in obsessive-compulsive
disorder in children with a particular genetic condition, Ms. Bialik
thought deeply about the science of human attachment. At the same time,
friends whose attachment-parenting approach she had once found “kooky
town” (“All they talked about was their kid, and their kid was always on
them,” she said) seemed to be getting impressive results.”
(OK, it helped that she “fell in love” with nursing on demand [aaaagh!!].)
So why am I talking about this?
Pull out the words “attachment parenting” and insert “Orthodox Judaism.”
How many people who feel it’s “not for them” feel the need to dis the system? To prove that it’s flawed? Its proponents backward? Its products worse off for the experience? How rarely have I heard someone admit: “It’s not for me, but I admire it and admire those who are willing to put in the hard work because they consider it a worthwhile system for a better future”?
How much education have the detractors of attachment parenting amassed about what it really means – or is most of the backlash due to ignorance, stereotyping, fear of the unknown and perceived judgment at the hands of adherents?
Recently I posted something about Homecoming on Facebook. One respondent angrily expressed the social mayhem and damage that ensues from these high school dances. A friend of mine later commented (in person – yeah, for reals) that this person was obviously a baal teshuvah – one who adopts Torah observance as an adult – who was unpopular in high school. The assumption was that people arrive at Orthodoxy for emotionally needy reasons.
I reacted by doing something that’s becoming a habit: I lent her a book. This one was by a popular and cool Jewish guy, a consummate jock and highly successful business person, who nevertheless felt that “something was missing” in his life, and intellectually, philosophically, researched and eventually adopted observant Judaism.
If kosher, Shabbat, and other observances are “not for you” that’s cool. I get that. I won’t say I agree, but I, as a detachment parent, get it. But please don’t feel that you then have to dis the system. The system exists – has existed – for thousands of years. Accept it if you wish; accept parts of it if you dare; ignore it if you must. But try to stay philosophical about the issues.