Welcome to Attachment Parents Get Real! Today I am featuring Melissa of the Happy Mommy Blog. Attachment Parents Get Real is a series featuring real life attachment parents and caregivers in an effort to help normalize attachment parenting, dispel myths, and help others identify with attachment parenting and gentle discipline. We would love to have you join us. If you are interested in being featured on Living Peacefully with Children as part of the Attachment Parents Get Real series, please read more about the initiative and fill out the form.
Melissa didn’t set out to be an attachment parent. In fact, until about 1 1/2 years ago, she didn’t even know that attachment parenting existed. When she began her parenting journey, she did so without the tenets of attachment parenting in mind. However, she did have her own ideals. Melissa knew that she didn’t want to ever leave her children alone to cry it out or to hit them in any fashion.
The tools and techniques Melissa and her family uses have changed as they have grown on their journeys. They have moved from a more authoritarian style of parenting, which included time outs or use parentally imposed consequences, to a more authoritative, gentle discipline style. As their children have grown, Melissa and her husband realized that if they were always imposing consequences, their children would not have experience dealing with situations on their own. Decisions would always be based on fear of consequences rather than genuine decisions based on what the child believed was the correct thing to do. They realized that childhood was an opportunity – one of learning with loving parents.
Attachment parenting became even more important to Melissa when her second child, and then her third, were diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, sometimes referred to as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Their family has found help with therapists and a special sensory diet, but it has been their parenting decisions that have made the most difference. All of the family benefits from their attachment parenting choices. Melissa, herself, feels calmer now than when she utilized punishments and rewards. She has given herself permission to take a moment to gather her thoughts and feelings when faced with parenting challenges. Doing so allows her to act in the manner which will be of the most help rather than reacting to the situation. Her children have learned that whatever is happening, their mother will be there for them to help them. She is their ally rather than their adversary.
Family life has changes in other ways, based on the needs of the family. Melissa became a SAHM a couple of years ago in order to start homeschooling their children and help her children with special needs. Prior to that time, she worked outside the home after receiving her master’s degree. They have practiced safe bed sharing for as long as each child desired, which also helped when her son was having issues breathing at night. Extended nursing has helped all of her children to calm down after active days spent playing and learning or with the hyperactivity sometimes associated with Sensory Processing Disorder. Through it all, Melissa and her husband stay connected with their children through both family and individual time together.
Melissa is the author of the Happy Mommy Blog, where she shares her trials and tribulations in her journey toward peaceful parenting. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page. She is a human rights activists and is taking life one day at a time, working together with her family. She considers herself a “work in progress.” She isn’t perfect, but her children are proof that attachment parenting works. Melissa encourages parents to find others who are supportive and tries to support other parents in any way she can. Attachment parenting, just like any type of parenting, isn’t always easy, but the effort, just like our children, is worth it.
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