Mothering – Are You Causing Harm?

One of the biggest sources of stress is parenting, especially mothering. I have noticed a trend with moms who come to see me.  Mothers who raise a child on their own don’t realize that they are often not able to provide that indispensable secure attachment to their infant … and there are consequences!

If we don’t have a feeling of security as children, how can we have it as adults? This is not mom or dad’s fault, but it is a fact! We need to feel safe and secure growing up otherwise all those negative insecurities, well they will impact everything we do- and everyone we interact with – as adults.  The security we feel as children is essential for survival. I was recently on Linked in and ran across a piece backing up my thoughts on this subject matter. It’s called ‘Secured Attachment’ and you can source it by clicking here.

Some of us were fortunate to be born into a stable and loving family structure that gave us that, and as a result, we were able to grow up feeling secure. Many of us, however, had to improvise because our parents weren’t able to provide this security for us. It isn’t because our parents didn’t love us – most parents would sacrifice their right arm for their children. It’s most often because they were too busy making ends meet and didn’t have the extended family and community to help out. One modern example is the single working mom.

We live in solitary pods these days, and this means for a single mom, that she must be more than what’s even possible. As a result, she often becomes stressed, isolated, and this inadvertently gets picked up by her child. The child starts to mimic the mother. The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child is what we’ve forgotten. Schools often serve as a safe haven for children, but it’s my belief that we need more than that – we need the kind of communities where children are cared for by the entire community, and not isolated. And social media does a great injustice with keeping us more apart than together!

The coping mechanisms children develop to “help” themselves feel secure as kids, well they too have their limits – fading into the wall paper is a good strategy for becoming invisible as a child, but will get you nowhere good as an adult; puffing up and looking bigger works to keep potential danger away as a child, but also keeps adults away when we grow up. All coping mechanisms are designed to protect us from what we fear. But if we’ve been doing this since we were little, then it’s likely that some of those fears are outdated, and are now more in our mind that anywhere else.

It’s possible to relearn basic trust as an adult. We can do it by parenting ourselves. Here are some tips:

– Provide a safe haven for yourself. For most of us, this is our home.

– Develop an awareness of times we are stressed, so that you can then bring choice into how you will respond to it

– Develop ways of self-regulation, such as deep breathing and mindfulness; perhaps going for a walk or moderate exercise

– Finally, begin to cultivate an attitude of empathy, because you aren’t alone in your struggle with stress, thus bringing yourself back into the stream of humanity.

We can’t turn back time, but we are able to change how we think and correct or re-learn behaviors. Ask yourself today how secure you felt as a child. How secure or insecure do you feel as an adult? There is a link.

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