“So, what do you think of attachment parenting?”
My inquisitor was a 30-something mom.
“Not much,” I said. “I don’t see any objective research that would verify any short- or long-term benefits; therefore, I don’t think the effort pays off.”
“Well, I disagree,” she replied. “I practice attachment parenting and I see lots of benefit.”
“How many kids do you have?”
“He’s my first.”
“So you have no control group or other point of comparison.”
“Maybe not,” she said, bristling, “but I have a right to raise my child any way I choose.”
“Actually, no, you don’t.”
Anyone who thinks they are entitled to raise a child any way they choose is wrong. In the raising of a child, one has an obligation to one’s neighbors, broadly defined. That obligation overrides one’s obligation to one’s child, in fact. Furthermore, the parent who understands and practices what I just said is going to do a much, much better job than the parent who believes his or her child is the beginning and end of their obligation. The child who learns, early on, that he is not worthy of being the center of attention, that the world does not revolve around him, is going to be a much happier camper than the child who is caused to believe otherwise.
Another way of saying the same thing: Esteem of self — once known as pride — makes only ONE person’s world go around. Humility — a willingness to serve others, no matter the inconvenience — is what glues culture together. Humbleness also makes for the highest level of personal satisfaction. For those reasons, the highest of all child-rearing goals is to raise a humble child. Therefore, there is one proper way to raise a child and the Almighty YOU do not have a “right” — self-conferred, of course — to raise YOUR child any old way YOU choose. That is narcissism, plainly speaking. It could be argued that one has a right to be a narcissist, but if so, the right ends when one’s self-absorption impacts another person.
It is HUMANism pushed to a pathological extreme, the epitome of not understanding that the proper raising of a child is an act of love for one’s neighbors.
It’s quite simple, actually: By keeping one’s obligation to one’s neighbors uppermost in mind, one will do the very best job of raising a child.
Visit family psychologist John Rosemond’s website at www.johnrosemond.com; readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org; due to the volume of mail, not every question will be answered.