Tuesday, November 27, 2007

world parenting styles

i just finished a book called "a world of babies: imagined childcare guides for seven societies" edited by deloache and gottlieb. i've read here and there that the foundational principles of attachment parenting are actually principles found throughout human history in most all human cultures, except for societies touched by Western culture. i wanted to find out if that was true, especially in light of the apparent relational and family breakdown so common in the West. (and in light of us trying some of these parenting ways.)

i think this book showed that the "new ways" of attachment parenting are just in fact "old ways." i don't know why, but that helps me out intellectually and emotionally.

now the big question on my mind....can attachment parenting really be done in our individualistic Western family setup? i.e., none of the cultures in the book let their kids "cry it out," but all the cultures have many people around to help take care of children. most other cultures live in community and can depend on others outside the nuclear family. hmmmmmmm.......

Sunday, November 04, 2007

shift two ~~toward interdependence

i'm suggesting on this blog that some of the cultural shifts happening in the US are affecting and will continue to affect parenting styles. now i admit, i might be just projecting my own perspective onto others, but i honestly don't think so.

the second shift that that i believe is core to changes in parenting style is:

a shift away from the values of individualism and independence to community and interdependence.

for parenting, this means that more and more postmodern parents are having trouble with some of the parentings style practices that have their roots in independence, namely, sleep arrangement, and crying it out.

i've heard many times that the reason that we want babies to sleep in other rooms, often crying themselves to sleep, is because we want them to gain independence. almost all other cultures throughout the history of mankind would look at the west and be appalled at this practice. but individualism and independence have been the hallmarks values of western culture and the grid through which we parent. sleeping arrangement almost symbolize the style and values of a people. if the core values change, though, i would expect sleeping arrangements to change as well. and i believe they are.

there is also a growing desire to live life more in community and with relationships center to life (versus careers, success and achievements.) a couple of years ago, the army had a catchy tag...join the army and be an "army of one." this catches the essence of a value system that is changing. many are seeing the negative effects of the "army of one" perspective. this value change is very difficult to practice because our living arrangements in the US (which each nuclear family in our own dwellings) were created under the old. now i admit, while there is a greater desire for life with relationships at the center, there almost seems to be another force pulling people into greater isolation. i wonder what will happen to living arrangements in the future? those two forces will collide sometime.

in the family, though, i foresee an increase in things like co-sleeping because more and more younger parents don't want their kids to be independent, but interdependent and able to depend on others in a healthy way, especially when they're young. (night-time is a scary times for kids.) since independence is a weakening value, letting a kid "cry it out" not only "feels" wrong to a some parents, but actually goes against core values of a new culture's beliefs.

so i offer thoughts on a second shift that has affects on parenting. i'm hoping this site can deal with theoretical things as well as practical things in parenting.