First, apologies to subscribers for the weird transmission of 2 old posts last night! I changed a setting on our front page to allow more posts to appear and the old posts were transmitted in the process.
Well, we finally have a page with CAPC’s mission/identity statement! I’ve been thinking about it for a while but I needed to get one down on paper finally. As these things go I might think about it for years. I’m sure I’ll fuss with it and revise it over time, as I always do, but I’m relieved we finally something. It reads:
CATHOLIC ATTACHMENT PARENTING CORNER supports Catholic parents interested in attachment-based parenting by providing education, resources, and advocacy. Our attachment parenting model is neither child-centered nor parent-centered; it is family-centered.
We believe Catholic theology perfects what is beautiful and just in secular insights about attachment parenting. In the daily life of the family, all family members learn to respond to the Church’s call to self-donative, empathic love — including children as they grow and mature. Through the parents’ responsive compassion, children learn to respond similarly to the needs of others. These children grow into adults who recognize suffering and feel compelled to respond, who are tender and merciful to those who are weaker than themselves, who are able to connect on a profound level with their loved ones, and who mirror in every facet of their lives the self-gift of Christ, the God-Man.
I have also created CAPC’s 7 Building Blocks for a Family-Centered Home™, which will help us focus our work as we look to the future. We will explore each Building Block more fully in blog posts and articles and through links to external resources:
1. Baby Bonding
- Your infant’s capacity for attachment is established early. She has an intense need for physical closeness, predictable comforting, and a sense of safety. Meeting these needs has a direct impact on her early brain development and helps her develop a sense of trust in later babyhood and toddlerhood.
- Explore different practices that encourage and strengthen the parent-child bond, such as breastfeeding on demand, staying physically close to baby at night by co-sleeping and during the day by wearing baby in a sling or other baby carrier.
- Respond to baby’s cues consistently & tenderly (without resentment or anger).
2. Empathic Response
- Get to know each child as a unique human being.
- Understand what’s behind your child’s eyes and in her heart at each developmental stage.
- Recognize any of your old wounds so that you can parent your child appropriately and with awareness, and not from a place of fear or anger unrelated to your child.
3. Playing Together
- Recognize that play is one of the most important ways children connect with us, work through their fears and frustrations, and build their self-confidence.
- Enter a child’s play world on occasion on his or her terms. Be willing to be silly and goofy on occasion!
4. Joyous, Shared Faith
- Every family can enjoy a shared faith life that’s alive and downright fun! Such faith is a tremendous witness to other families, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
- Allow your home to reflect the abundant joy and hope of our Catholic Faith. Explore and celebrate Feast Days and Saints Days with crafts, special parties and teas, and sharing books together. Develop a family prayer plan and pray together regularly.
- Children, especially young ones, will absorb our attitudes about attending Mass and growing in the Faith. If we’re excited and enthusiastic, it’ll be contagious! If we only talk about the Church and its Sacraments as a list of obligations that we must fulfill to avoid hell, kids are turned off and they may eventually tune out. The heart of our Faith is love and hope, and the opportunity for transformation and renewal.
5. Gentle Discipline
- The heart of gentle discipline is the connection between parent and child. Without a secure connection, discipline will be a frustrating power struggle.
- The goal of gentle discipline is for the child to build a conscience and self-control, not to break the child’s will. In an empathic, nurturing home a child is never humiliated or threatened as a way to coerce obedience.
- Growing up can be confusing and frustrating. By learning what to expect at each developmental stage, you can empathize with your child better. We can’t expect a 3 year-old to have the self-control of 6 year-old. Each developmental age comes with its struggles and joys. Educate yourself about child development so that the balance tips towards joy!
- Balance work, play, and prayer in your home. Do all these things as a family. Each family member contributes to the upkeep of the home and meal preparations as is appropriate for their developmental age. Even very young children enjoy being included in the routine with small jobs, like helping unload the dishwasher, mopping, or dusting.
- Every parent needs a little time alone to refuel. How much time you can spend alone and how frequently depends on various factors in your home, including the availability of your spouse or a babysitter and how young your children are, but remember that you will be parenting for many years. Don’t run out of gas early on!
- Take time to exercise and eat well. This can involve the kids! Children love to ride their bikes with parents who might be running or biking. Make a hiking plan and explore different hiking trails in your region. Children love to help with food preparations, like making salads and kneading bread dough.
7. A Strong Marriage
- If you treat your child will tenderness and affection, but fail to model such tenderness with your spouse, your child may still enter adulthood with a relationship handicap. Your marriage models for your children how to treat others in close, intimate relationships. She’ll obviously be better off and very blessed for having received warm, consistent love from her parents, but it’s like she will have received only the appetizer to a delicious meal and missed the main course!
- Speak about and to your spouse with affection and love; perform little acts of kindness to make his or her life easier. Be willing to serve even in small ways.
- You and your spouse are called to help one another on your paths to heaven. See your spouse the way Christ does, as a precious and priceless soul on a journey to a Divine Destination.
Nobody can meet all these ideals perfectly. We all have limitations and every family hits rough patches. But having these ideals in our minds can help us move toward wholeness personally and as a family.