Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child

There is quite an uproar over the latest TIME magazine cover isn't there? I admit I was a bit taken back by it when I first saw it. In the past days I have seen several posts and opinions out there regarding the article and the issue of attachment parenting - quite passionate opinions at that. I am not bringing up this issue in order argue a certain side, but rather to address what I think is the more important core issue in regard to how we parent, and that is the issue of raising a child who is emotionally healthy and secure.

My views on attachment parenting have shifted quite a bit through the years. I was once very opposed to it and am now much more open to it. But I don't think it is "the" way to parent. I have absolutely no problem with different parenting views out there, but what I do struggle with is the attitude some view points carry that they have the market cornered on how best to parent and the way they sometimes look down on those who don't share the same views. (I will admit that I used to subtly look down on those who had views different to mine :/ ). I don't know about how it was for other parents, but for us our children did not come along with instruction manuals. And I also don't know any parent who truly has it all together when it comes to raising their children. It is challenging, and sometimes downright daunting to raise a child. It puts the fear of God in me because one day I will have to give an account for how I have loved and cared for them.

As a follower of Jesus, for me I have come to learn that I often followed the parenting philosophy I had adopted to a fault. I was using it to replace God in my life as the guide for how to raise my children. I wasn't doing it on purpose, I just honestly believed that the philosophy to which I held was the godly way to parent (a little arrogant I realize, but just being honest). Through experience though I have discovered that parenting just is not as simple as following a guide that someone else has laid out for you. Isn't the goal after all to raise a healthy child, and not to just follow the rules of this method or that method. I have found that when I get so stuck on following what this or that book has told me to do, I am all of a sudden acting as if I am accountable to that expert and no longer to God. And I no longer am thinking for myself and relying on the Holy Spirit within me to guide me, but I am relying on someone else for how to raise my child.

As I said in another post in regard to deciding what kind of diet to eat, I am all for researching and learning from others. And I am not even against holding to a certain philosophy someone else has laid out. What I see as a problem is when we follow something so wholeheartedly (whether it be a certain diet or parenting philosophy) that it causes us to lose sight of the real goal. And for me the goal of parenting is to raise a child with whom I have a good relationship and who is healthy and secure in God. I guess I won't fully know how good of a job my husband and I are doing until our kids are grown and we see the fruit of our labor, but until then I know the best place I can be is not with my nose stuck in a parenting book (though I will continue to read some), but on my knees relying on God to lead me and cover my mistakes. Oh, how I love my children! Parents, may He all give us an abundance of grace each day as we endeavor to care for them!


  1. I love this article. When I had my baby I was stuck between one friend who was a fanatical follower of the Babywise and Ferber method and another equally for Attachment Parenting. Neither method worked completely for us. I ended up using a little of each combined with prayer and observing my baby's needs. It's not perfect, but he is healthy and happy :)

    1. Sounds like you are doing such a great job Megan!