Practicing Non-Attachment As Parents

As parents we tend to forget that our kids are individuals living their own process, emotions and building their own reality. It becomes easy to project our own judgement and expectations to what our children are trying to say or do. It is part of the process of understanding better who we are as parents and what we want to teach our children on a daily basis

Practicing non-attachment comes in many forms and here I discuss some of the most common ways of attachment I've encountered as a parent:

1. Sometimes we will feel a relationship attachment where it becomes difficult to balance the need of closeness in a crisis, with the act of independence and exploration. We want to be part of their lives so deeply and so often that we forget they need their own time and space to be free, make mistakes and learn by doing. It is a protective mechanism that we apply so we "never" see them suffer or be hurt by someone else. And even though we know - most of the time, that we cannot protect them from everything, we still manage to avoid all possible risks, when all we need to do is be present, available and emotionally balanced so we can help them and support them when they need us. We need to be able to let our children go when they need to be independent and trust they will make the right decisions

2. Another common form of parenting attachment is when we are in denial of change. Accepting the different stages of your child as he grows is difficult in many ways. Sometimes we can feel we have lost control over things that were already controlled, like eating or sleeping patterns. We tend to become attached to the idea or the version of our kids that no longer exists, because they are in constant change and transformation. Most of the time, this is the version of them we loved and enjoyed the most. The biggest problem with this form of attachment is that when we idealised a version of them, we leave no room for growth and transformation, we enclose them and make them feel they are no longer free to express who they really are and what they truly feel, leading sometimes to resentment, insecurities or disappointment. As parents, we need to be able to adapt to the different stages and personalities of our children. They change at a faster pace than we do, and we need to be able to follow the rhythm to keep guiding them and offering what they need

3. Expectations: We all have parenting attachment in some degree. As soon as we know we are going to be parents, we start dreaming, planning and imagining how we will raise our kids. I was going to be the healthy mum, practicing yoga with my kids all the time. But what if they didn’t like yoga? What it they loved meat and I wanted them to be vegetarian? It'd be a complete rupture of my expectations. From baby led-weaning, to how baby sleeps, we tend to see ourselves and fit in this role models that society and social media sell us. However, we just need to tune in to our intuition, believe and trust we are making the right decisions (not based on social media, but on our own values and beliefs), and surrender to the idea that you have all the answers.

Parenting is messy, even chaotic sometimes, and that's okay. We just need to be available, detached from the outcome of any particular situation and be present without projecting our own emotional needs onto them

Written by Adriana Salazar

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