“When you have a baby you have five years of hard labor ahead of you. If you don’t get it over at the beginning, you’ve got it coming to you later.”
– John Bowlby
Relationships begin well before children are born and more likely even before conception, as indicated by the emerging field of epigenetics. As parents, this means that we have great influence over what happens or doesn’t happen with our child’s development and we have the ability to change the trajectory if we are aware and have the tools to make changes. We need to understand that our children are not born as blank slates, but that children absorb what happens to them in utero, during birth, and long before they can consciously remember.
Our early parenting decisions help to form the basic structure of a child’s brain in the early years, while later decisions only add to or lessen the impact of the basic structure. Loving and valuing our babies through meeting their needs establishes a neural pathway in their brain that enables them to believe they are loved and valued.
Because these early parenting decisions make such an impact on development and the course of the relationship, it becomes even more important to try to meet children’s needs when they are young. It is possible to change things later, but you are looking at changing the structure of the brain and the neural pathways. It is possible to do, but it requires LOTS of work on a daily basis to make changes.
One of the best tools we’ve found to promote creating a healthy relationship is to parent with attachment in mind. The concepts underlying attachment based on Attachment Theory (by John Bowlby) can be a great guide to point you in the right direction to get a good start.
Green Light Parenting Behaviors
- Attachment Parenting
- Baby Wearing
- Conscious Conception
- Conscious Pregnancy
- Conscious Birth
- Nighttime Parenting (co-sleeping or sleeping in close proximity, responsive to nighttime needs)
- Rhythm to the day/week
- Feeding on cue (preferably breastfeeding)
- Bottle nursing when breastfeeding not possible
- Time out for parent as needed
- Taking care of the needs of the parent for self-care and community
Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond
by Rebecca Thompson
Creating Connection is a great resource for families who are just beginning their parenting journey and also for those who are looking to understand their children’s early stories and how that impacts behavior later. It also provides a window into our own experiences so that we can have a deeper understanding of ourselves.
About This Book
The story of your family begins long before the conception of your first child and even long before your own conception. Patterns in families, for better or worse, don’t just show up out of the blue. Instead, patterns emerge as living and breathing parts of our lives through the stories we tell to ourselves and to our children, spoken or unspoken. Even though we cannot consciously remember our early lives, the memories live on in our bodies, in cellular memory. The imprint of how we were conceived, whether we were expected or wanted, how our parents adjusted to the news, and how we came into the world, are all part of our stories. And they are part of our children’s stories. What is not “remembered” consciously has a strong influence over our relationships, for better or for worse.
When we can understand our own story or the story of our child, we can make more sense of our struggles. For parents who have never connected deeply with one child, a closer look at the child’s early story can often shed light on why. A child with behavioral challenges can be understood in a different light when we revisit the whole story, rather than trying to figure out how to just make the behaviors stop. When we understand the bigger story and how that interacts with our own story, we can start to make lasting changes in our families.
Creating Connection, book 2 in the Consciously Parenting Book Series, gives you the tools and information necessary to support your growing family, whether you are beginning the journey of parenthood prior to conception, are expecting your first baby, or are a veteran parent. The information in this book will support you on your own journey of self-understanding, as well as understanding your child more deeply.
Even if you didn’t have a great beginning yourself or there were significant challenges in your child’s early life, know that there is always hope. Families are resilient. It isn’t about having the perfect set of events, but in understanding your family’s story and using some of the tools suggested to reconnect or repair those early bumps in your journey. Remember that now!
Creating Connection isn’t about creating another reason to beat yours elf up because this orthat happened or didn’t happen. Creating Connection opens the doors to deeper under-standing so you can create more connection in your family starting today.