Raising Kids the Hard Way

By Gaynell Payne

When it comes to raising children, a very old but true adage applies: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

Who says to a contractor building a skyscraper that he’s making more trouble for himself by making sure that everything is perfect, level, all materials are up to building code, all permits are in order, and inspecting every last detail to make sure that when that building is finished, it will stand? Sure, that’s the hard way of building a building. But it’s also legally the only way. To cut corners about it will be hazardous – now or in the long run.

How much more so a child? Just like that building, if you’re goal is raising children the easy way, you’re not going to have a stable one. Yet parents still hear arguments from neighbors, languidly leaning on a fence as they pass out salted wisdom of the old wives’ club. “If you pick him up when he cries, you’re just making it harder on yourself.”

It’s illogical that “hard” and “easy” should be arguments of why you should or shouldn’t raise your child a certain way, or do things for your child, or take care of them when they cry.

My goal, my job is to raise a person – one who is secure in his place in the world, who knows he was not a mistake, who knows what it is to be loved for who he is, so he can in turn sow love in the world and not hate and destruct. Maybe I’m in a minority, but I am in fear and awe of the immensity of my job. To me, it’s not hardship but joy. His soul is beautiful. It saddens me that not everyone looks at their children and sees that in them.

Yes, Attachment Parenting is the hard way, because it’s the right way. For me, it’s always been the only way.

When I was in college (some time ago), one of my journalism professors claimed that you couldn’t find an ad with the word “easy” in it. He promised extra credit to anyone who could, because “easy” still had a negative connotation for that generation. Easy was the lazy way out.

Now we have the Easy Button. Quick and easy meals. So easy a caveman could do it. I would have never noticed this certain societal shift myself if it had not been for my old professor. Now we have shifted so much that easy is desirable, and if it’s not easy, it’s wrong. Even to the proper taking care of our children. Books that advocate crying it out could say “Raising Kids the Easy Way!”

Real love is not easy. It’s sacrifice. Few people think that is even valuable anymore. Maybe because they weren’t sacrificed for. Now they’re raising an even more broken and detached generation.

No thanks, I’ll do it the hard way.

My goal, my job is to raise a person – one who is secure in his place in the world, who knows he was not a mistake, who knows what it is to be loved for who he is, so he can in turn sow love in the world and not hate and destruct.

7 thoughts on “Raising Kids the Hard Way”

  1. I mean no disrespect, but I honestly don’t understand the whole “attachment parenting”. I am a soon to be father and believe that the “run to my babies rescue” method of perenting is a bit on the extreme side. Is it not just asserting the message of mommy and daddy come with hugs every time they get upset? I’m not trying to judge. I honestly just dont see the long-term benifits.

  2. I love this article and I agree with every word. I am the mother of 5 month old boy and for all these months was trying to find ‘my way’ of being mother. We tried everything and my heart advises me: love, hug and cudle and you will be happy mother of happy baby.
    I would like to also copy this article to my website. But it is blocked. Is there any option to share this article with my friends on my website?

  3. Hi I am the mother of a 4 1/2 year old girl and 17 month old boy. Sleeping has always been a challenge for us. Right now it seems that the right thing to do is to let him cry for awhile and then go in and snuggle otherwise he won’t go to sleep and I end up getting angry. So rather then enter into the relm of anger and abuse, I let him cry until my heart tells me it’s time to show him the compassion he needs. It’s been really hard though making sure we find the right balance for our family. My way of looking at attachment parenting is that you should strive to do things the hard way. However, if its a choice between doing things the hard way and getting angry or doing things the easy way and keeping everyone happy, then choose to keep everyone happy and try the hard way by doing something different the next time. It’s all about problem solving and I think that striving for an attachment parenting lifestyle makes me a better parent and a better person.

  4. I agree with Attachment Parenting all the way! I had a traumatic childhood and was abused in many ways and also in many different foster care families. It affected my life in ways I cannot even begin to tell you. So the way we respond to our children and the way we love them have everything to do with who they will become and how they treat others! However, I have done a lot of self help and have also been practicing attachment parenting with my own children and love every bit of it. I am working on my own website right now about breastfeeding and am going to be putting a link to your website on it. Thankyou for sharing all this powerful, valuable information with parents. I see too often people that don’t have a clue on connecting with their own children and many times its b/c they are just repeating patterns. However, the more people can begin to connect with themselves and change the more they can connect with others- especially their own child.

  5. It has been interesting reading about attachment parenting. We have a 7 month son, and we have done much of attachment parenting instinctively without realising it. It seems the principles are about loving and respecting your child, and consistantly showing them that. I could never bear the thought of leaving him to cry it out – and he has always settled quickly with us going up and soothing him. I carried him in a sling a lot when he was very little, and now he just gets tucked under our arm and goes about with us. However, we don’t co-sleep, and we will be sending him to a nursery. I (his mother) went back to work last month. Our parenting style has worked for us, and so it seems for our son, who is healthy, happy and sociable.

    I do worry about setting up rules for parenting – parenting is hard,as the author rightly points out, and children differ and their needs differ. What works for one family may not work for another, for all sorts of valid reasons. It is easy to hold yourself up to a parenting theory and feel like a failure – a feeling which doesn’t help anybody. Being willing to be flexible, trying to have insight in to your parenting, but being kind and non-judgemental towards yourself and others is also very important. Parents need to stick together!

  6. Hi I just want to comment on the ideal parenting method of attachment parenting.it is parenting with love.respecting the developmental stage of the child plus the individual childs needs.as a nanny I have seen the positives but also the distress at times of working parents trying to settle a child back to sleep after waking for the umpteenth time that night knowing they need to be up working the next day.Ibelieve in attatched parenting but if parents are needing to work there needs to be a balance so that parents can cope too.we are not robots but have needs too and if through lack of sleep parents arent able to function then this isnt going to be a positive experienced for the child as parents will be too tired to parent well.I think we need to support parents and the wonderful job they all do , give them the knowledge as to how to build positive relationships with their child but also in a way so thatthey dont feel that they have somehow caused permanent damage simply because they haves encouraged their child to sleep in their own cot in their own room.I would never advocate leaving a child to cry but if a parent is distressed it is far better to leave the child for a couple of minutes to allow the parent a couple of minutes to destress than to have an upset one getting cross because of them being worn out.lets have sensible managable caring parenting where parents can be relaxed and children raised without parents feeling that they are somehow failing.we all do our best.my own daughter’s are wonderful confident late teens with excellent social skills.did I know about attachment parenting.? No but I did the best I could and thats good enough for me and my lovely girls!
    That said the child I care for has been raised with this style of parenting.sleep has been difficult and I see currently a difference in her confidence to that of many others of a similar age but having said thatthis may well be her disposition.it seems absolutely right to me to comfort her when worried, upset etc..I do think it is important though to be supportive to the anxious child, to explain to her any anxieties and encourage independence by slowly and positively encouraging her independent play.if for example we go to toddlers I may initially need to sit with her on my lap but I wait until she is ready to explore and when she seperates from me I move back a little.she looks for me and I always acknowledge her and reassure her and she will either come to me (though this is getting less) or will carry on playing.

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