Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Is their a "more religious" form of parenting

Some may say so. This question came up with a co-worker of mine. He is a member of an AME Zion church (African Methodist Episcopalian). His sons are teens now, but he encountered something at a neighbors home he had never seen before. Attachment parenting. The couple had three children, ages 5- 6 months who were all co-sleeping, the infant was kept in a sling at all times on one of the parents and all the children (well the older two) were breast-fed past 24 months.
My co-workers question was, is attachment parenting a religious practice. His reason for asking, the couple were West African and practicing Sunni Muslims. And being that he had never known anyone to practice this, it seemed a fair question. As far as I know, Islam doesn't dictate attachment parenting. I have known Muslim families who didn't practice it. I do know for sure, that there are a fair amount of Catholic families who practice attachment parenting as well. Don't believe me click here.

It is common that we criticize what we don't know or understand. It is just as common for us to promote our way of thinking as the "best and only way." We forget that just because our way works best for us, doesn't mean it works for everyone else.

Case in point, attachment parenting. I was never committed to the idea. Good thing too, my daughter, wouldn't have stood for it. She wanted to sleep in her own bassinet or crib from day one, although she demanded to be nursed and did until she was nine-months old and I was pregnant with her brother. I think the milk changed and she stopped liking it. My son, on the other hand, was not a very eager nurser (he did well, just wasn't as gung ho as his sister) but slept in our bed until the age of five months. He disliked being put down and would not sleep anywhere but with us. So, really, attachment parenting didn't 100% mesh with our family. I know a lot of people disagree that I put my children in a crib, but just as many feel it was child abuse to let my son sleep with us. Either way we did what was right for our family. And I can't waste my energy on what other people St Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times...when necessary use words." Point being, I can't hope to convert anyone to anything through angry rhetoric, but if I live my life and people see I am happy, they will begin to wonder, and their conversion will begin.

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