"Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths." Psalm 25, verse 4
I am a big fan of listening to podcasts, as I seldom find the time now to sit and read through an entire book or search the Internet for countless hours on how to parent. Recently, I listened to a podcast entitled: Science vs Attachment Parenting. Ever since becoming a parent, the phrase 'attachment parenting' has been mentioned and re-mentioned to me repeatedly, and people seem to either fully support the parenting style or be entirely against it.
'Attachment parenting' is a style of parenting which advocates constant and round-the-clock attention-giving to a child, not believing in letting the child fuss or cry at all, believing that everything should be entirely child-led and a child should be 'attached' to the parent at all times, day and night—either through being carried in a sling or by sharing a bed space at night.
The host went on to present a myriad of 'rules' and work you needed to do in order to get your child to 'securely attach'. She begun by exploring the roots and basis for how the term 'attachment parenting' came about, and the so called must-dos in order to get an 'attached' child.
Interestingly enough, the scientific evidence to back up these claims were not only non-existent, but also there were longitudinal studies that showed parenting involvement (whether attachment parenting or not) was a small factor in the future success of the child's ability to form loving and lasting relationships with others.
The host concluded that all the work and sacrifice we put in at the beginning may not even be a large predictor of how your child turns out in the end, as other factors come into play such as schools they go to, sibling relationships, life experiences, socio-economic status and genetics.
God's relationship with us
While listening to the podcast, it suddenly occurred to me that as a Christian parent, how do our parenting styles influence the way we raise our children? There is the 'attachment parenting' way, and there is the 'parent-directed' way, but what about God's way?
With our own relationship with God, we do not have to do anything at all to get the unconditional love that God offers. This is the definition of grace. God's grace covers everything we need; it is like a shelter that protects us from the punishment we deserve for our sin and rebellion. God's grace is undeserved, but yet we receive it freely—as God's love for us goes beyond what we can imagine or comprehend.
God's way of parenting
At the end of the day, both my husband and I strongly believe that every good and perfect gift is from above (James chapter 1, verse 17). Our beloved daughter is God's child first and foremost, and how we raise her should reflect God's own relationship with us.
Nothing our daughter does can make us love her any less or any more; we love her unconditionally and unbounded by our own feelings. She doesn't get more love on days we feel like loving her more. She has grace from us, even when she is throwing a temper tantrum. However, she also gets a fair amount of discipline and training, just like how God disciplines those He loves.
We do not need to do anything—any work at all—to gain a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. God's grace is for all who believe. In His sight, we are pure and blameless, and His way of having a relationship with us is unwavering and unchanging.
That is the way we want to parent our children. Not my way, or my husband's way, or even the scientifically proven way, but God's way. We want to be compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness in our parenting (Exodus chapter 34, verse 6). This is God's calling for us all, as we are all His children first and foremost.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa is a mum to 1, runs a home-based cake business, Lollicakes and is also currently studying towards an Early Childhood Teaching qualification. www.lollicakes.com.au
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html