Elizabeth Lindell: I am a nurturer. When my child was a baby, I rocked her, I snuggled her, I engaged her and even wore her (in a sling) while I puttered around the house. I know that my daughter feels secure in my love for her and that my use of attachment parenting has had benefits. She is strong, confident, compassionate and not afraid to speak her mind.
Attachment parenting, however, has shown me that it can cause problems for children later in their lives. Children who grow up in extremely nurturing environments can be more compassionate, which is wonderful, but they can also be overly sensitive.
While being nurtured, children also need to be taught how to interact in a world that doesn't feel so safe all of the time. They need to know how to self-soothe right from the beginning. They need to know how to comfort themselves if they wake up from a bad dream at three in the morning. They need to know how to deal with a teacher's disapproval, a classmate's jealousy or a friend's betrayal.
Most nurturers want the best for their children. I think there is much we can do for our children to help support them in becoming the best adults they can be. A few years ago, a friend told me about a mom who started "training" her daughter from the time she could barely walk. She would notice a small piece of fuzz or paper on the floor and ask her child to please pick it up and take it to the trash. The child would then do so, picking the object up with her fingers and then toddling over to the can.
As she told me the story, all I could think was how much catch-up work I had to do. When my child was a few weeks old, rocking her while listening to music nurtured me deeply. That, to me, is appropriate. Feeling that kind of comfort from responding to a child's needs later in life, though, is not healthy.
Sometimes I think we need to consider who we are really nurturing when it comes to our children. Are we doing it for them ... or for ourselves?