As parents we're often pressured into separating ourselves from our babies and children - to build invisible walls and to establish artificial physical boundaries. We're told that if we touch, hug and hold our children too much we'll spoil them. It's time to challenge and bury this outdated approach.
It's no secret that the average American child spends seven hours in front of a screen every day and only five minutes playing freely in the great outdoors. Mothers have been arrested for allowing their children to play outside or ride their bike without adult supervision. Parents are putting leashes on children to walk them around shopping centres as if they're wild animals who can't be trusted. Preschoolers are asked to sit for extended periods of time when every fibre of their being is screaming at them to run, jump and play. It's refreshing to see a group of down-to-earth, respectful and conscious parents walking their walk and freeing their children of the expectations of modern day society.
Childhood has changed dramatically over the last 50 years; the rules of the game were rewritten by adults, but we never asked our children if they wanted to play. If we ignore external factors and compensate by over medicating, over controlling and over scheduling our kids, the problem will continue to escalate.
Happy babies are more likely to become happy children and subsequently, happy adults: it's logical, makes sense and it's a notion which has affected my decision making as a conscious parent over the last few years. How we choose to parent our children matters and the Danes have a unique approach which seems to be working.
Since becoming a parent, my eyes have been opened to a minority I was unaware of -- and it's the cutest little minority there is. Children are often treated as second class citizens, as somehow less than adults. This discrimination precipitates manipulation of children and fuels society's expectation of a parenting approach centered on adult's wants rather than children's needs.
The euphoria of falling in love with our new babies is intoxicating. For me it was such a dominant force, that for a while it overshadowed everything else in my life, including my marriage. I took our marriage for granted, assuming it was strong enough to withstand any challenge. And it is incredibly resilient, but when a baby comes along we're tested like never before. Small cracks in a relationship may grow into colossal chasms and threaten the foundation of our precious family units.
One of a child's basic emotional needs is to be treated with respect. It sits at the heart of a strong parent-child connection, which is fundamental to healthy emotional development. We're capable of giving this to our children, but first, we need to recognize disrespectful behaviour and stamp it out before it jeopardizes our most precious relationships.
We accept life is irreversibly transformed and some parts of our pre-children lives are forever lost. It's hard to do -- life was simple and straightforward before kids and it's healthy to admit we miss it. It doesn't make us ungrateful parents, it makes us human. It means we're honest.
While half the world's babies are potty independent by 12 months, babies in Western cultures wear diapers for an average of three years...and counting. In the 1950s before the widespread use of disposable diapers, 95 per cent of Western children were potty independent by 18 months. That statistic has now flipped with only 10 per cent potty independent by 18 months.
Cracked nipples. Engorged breasts. Improper latches. Mastitis. Bites. Nursing on demand every two hours. Loss of independence. And now, judgmental stares and nasty comments. For most mothers, disapproval, from strangers is the least of our worries. We've given birth. We're enduring a level of sleep deprivation most would consider a form of torture. We're tough. We can handle it. But, why should we?
Through infertility I became a stronger person. It taught me patience, determination and perseverance....
Your baby is worth fighting for, so although this may feel like hell, keep going. I wouldn't wish infertility on anybody, but I can't say I'd change it now. My little man wouldn't be the same person if I hadn't waited. And nor would I.
I ponder how much kinder our world would be if we were able to maintain our own child-like innocence and act more on instinct rather than learned conventions. If we responded from a place of authenticity rather than politeness. If we were wholeheartedly dedicated to the ones we're with, tending to their needs honestly, rather than worrying how others may judge us.
Simplifying is vital not only for our kid's health, but also for our own. Simplicity is a rare gift in modern life. It's an obvious message, and when we hear it, we can't help but shout YES. Slowing down feeds our souls and nurtures our families. No matter what parenting style we practice, this topic unites us.
Nursing a baby in public is hard enough. But nursing a toddler is a whole other ball game. The disapproving stares. The negative comments. You've heard it all, right? You probably don't know many other mothers who breastfeed their babies beyond 6 months. Your friends and family may question you. And tell you it's strange to continue to nurse your toddler. But your little man loves nursing. He's vibrantly healthy. Emotionally secure. And you cherish it. It feels normal. Natural. So what should you do?
When I read Kim John Payne's book, Simplicity Parenting one message leapt off the page. Normal personality quirks combined with the stress of "too much" can propel children into the realm of disorder. A child who is systematic may be pushed into obsessive behaviours. A dreamy child may lose the ability to focus.