I remember when the first edition of the book, Attached at the Heart, was released in 2009 – Nurturings’ 15th anniversary since its founding by the book’s coauthors, Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker.
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We want to celebrate our child's unique traits, but sometimes their differences can be worrying. We wonder if they seem a little out of step with developmental milestones or when their temperament seems much different when compared with other children?
My partner and I had asked all the big questions as we got ready for the birth of our son. We'd prepared ourselves both physically and spiritually for what we expected to be a smooth, beautiful childbirth assisted by our midwife. It just never occurred to me that we would need anything besides each other to welcome our child into this world.
How do you feel about your childbirth experience? In which ways, did your experience help you to bond with your baby?
If we look to perfection to judge our work by, we will always fall short, so it's very important to model that it's OK to be imperfect.
What is one thing you do well in how you are raising your child? How can you reframe your goals to be able to celebrate your mini-milestones?
One of the hardest challenges with raising a special needs child is trying to keep people, including us as her parents, from attempting to force her into being a "typical" child. Jackie is different. She will always be different, and I celebrate that difference.
How do you allow your child to be different? How do you allow yourself to be different from other parents?
I never felt like I could get angry as a child. My parents sure did, but I got the message loud and clear that I was supposed to keep the peace, be good, and above all, never ever lose my cool. As a parent, I found myself getting angry at my child for being angry.
What if I let my daughter be angry? What if I just listened and empathized but didn't try to fix it?
Absolutely the greatest contribution I can make toward Earth's stewardship is to raise children who care.
What are your favorite activities to do in nature? What is one activity you can share with your child this week?
I breastfed both of my babies. Once we got the hang of things, it was easy. Then I introduced solid foods. I decided that presenting healthy options wasn't enough. I wanted to get them involved in the food they eat.
How do you involve your children in their food?
Happy, confident, caring children grow up in an atmosphere of flexibility and trust, supported by respectful and realistic parents who do not see challenging behaviors as indications that there is a problem with their children. Adults and children share many of the behaviors considered to be "problem behaviors" when exhibited by children.
Which behaviors do you share with your child?
While social media has made constant and instantaneous connection easier, there is nothing quite like going to a face-to-face meeting and interacting with other parents and their children in real time. Having a parents' group means having a common thread with other families to help us create a safe, still space when it seems that our world is constantly in motion.
Who is someone you could reach out to about meeting up at the park for a playdate and parent-to-parent conversation?
We tend to believe that only a few people are genuinely creative, that they are born knowing they are creative and that they go through life with that creative spark undimmed. But we are all creative, we all have a divine spark within us, we all have the capacity to tap into our originality, and we all have gifts whether we recognize them or not.
When can you set aside 15 minutes of today for something you love to do?
Research has shown that positive childhood experiences help children grow into healthy, resilient adults. These positive experiences can be categorized into what we call the four building blocks of HOPE. Let's take a deeper look at the first building block of HOPE: Relationships.
But first, what is HOPE?
Q: What are the benefits of parents tapping into their own creativity when it comes to their relationships with their children?
A: When you pay attention to the creativity of your child, you are connecting to a part of your child that is timeless. When you try to connect to your child's creativity and sense of wonder, you reawaken your own creativity and your own sense of wonder. If you focus on making it a safe and benevolent environment for your child to have self-expression, you then find yourself with a desire to have a safe, protected environment for yourself. The home becomes a sort of sanctuary, not only for your child's creativity but for your own.