Thursday, August 13, 2009

AP Principle Thursday: Respond with Sensitivity

Every Thursday I will be doing an Attachment Parenting principle to familiarize those who do not know about attachment parenting, engage with those that are currently attachment parenting, and create interest in those who would like to know more about attachment parenting.

Today's Attachment Parenting Principle is Respond with Sensitivity.
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.

I have a very high-spirited toddler and sometimes his emotions get the better of him, this is the perfect time to practice this principle. Oh yes, sometimes it's hard when he's refusing to put on his clothes and pretends to swim naked on my bed with my 300 count sheets (true story, it happened today). Although we were on our way to work and needed to get him to school for his field trip, instead of yelling at him to get dressed or even ignoring him and walking away, I took it as an opportunity to share in his joy. Now, it would have been counterproductive to share in the joy of nudity because we did have somewhere to be, so instead I engaged him in imaginative play about animals.

I said, Oh so you're a fish or are you a bird? He makes bird sounds, I put on pull-ups. Are you a bird or a frog, he ribbits I put on socks. A frog or a bird? He chirps and the shorts go on. We did this until he was dressed and was finally a little boy.
It took a bit more time, but it also led to the desired outcome without yelling or tantrums (from both of us).

How do you/could you work this principle in your own day to day parenting?


  1. Absolutely fantastic!!!! This could have easily been a situation where you yelled/scolded him, popped his legs, threatened, cajoled, time-outted him, etc! But I love that you instead "joined" him in his imaginary journey and both of you ended up at the desired place.... plus he felt supported and understood. Awesome job, mom!

  2. Hi, I got your message/comment and I just added you to my AP blogroll :) Please add me to yours, thanks!

    Yay for attachment parenting!



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