You’re a loving parent who wants the best for your child. You’ve read allllllllll the books. You participate in parenting groups on and offline. You’ve done the research.
You just want her to be happy.
You also want you to be happy and you’re exhausted by responding to every call and cry.
But you fear that not responding could harm her attachment to you. You don’t want her to grow up to be a dysfunctional adult because you weren’t there for her in early childhood.
So you keep on trudging back and forth to her room every night, responding to every request, every cry, every demand.
And then you feel guilty because secretly, you’re feeling resentful.
You don’t want to resent your kid. You love your kid. More than life itself.
But you also deeply need a break for yourself.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to choose between setting limits and having a child with a secure attachment to you.
You can have both.
In fact, in the early days of attachment research, Donald Winnicott coined the term “good enough mother” because his research showed that children actually benefit from parents who “fail them in small, manageable ways.” Children actually do better with parents who aren’t 100% available. Children need practice with managing small adversity in order to successfully handle the larger challenges in life.
Attachment parenting – not based on the science of attachment theory – might have you believing the opposite, that you need to be at your child’s side 24/7.
But the opposite is true.
Boundaries and small separations are actually good for your child.
They give your child an opportunity to practice independence while also getting her biological needs for sleep met, both of which lead to increased happiness and independence.
Still, the struggle to break free from the cultural pressure to be instantly, constantly available to your child is real. It’s hard to believe it’s okay to leave her crying. It makes you feel terrible.
I get it. And I’m here to help.
I can help you work through your discomfort so you can take care of yourself and your child without guilt.
Schedule a complimentary life coaching session to learn more about a life with guilt-free time for yourself.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.