I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Letting go of fear for your mobile baby

Letting go of your fear is one of the hardest issues in Continuum Concept parenting. Allowing your child her freedom to explore in a modern world. Many parents are still stuck in their own fear mode and this impacts on their child's exploration and learning.  In her book Jean Leidloff observes baby's crawling round the tribal fire pits and around a hole and the people around showed no fear: -

"When he goes about on hands and knees, a baby can travel at a fair speed. Among the Yequana, I watched uneasily as one creeper rushed up and stopped at the edge of a pit Eve feet deep that had been dug for mud to make walls. In his progress about the compound, he did this several times a day. With the inattentiveness of an animal grazing at the edge of a cliff, he would tumble to a sitting position, as often as not facing away from the pit Occupied with a stick or stone or his fingers or toes, he played and rolled about in every direction, seemingly heedless of the pit, until one realized he landed everywhere but in the danger zone. The non-intellect-directed mechanisms of self-preservation worked unfailingly and, being so precise in their calculations, functioned equally well at any distance from the pit, starting from the very edge. Unattended or, more often, at the periphery of attention of a group of children playing with the same lack of respect for the pit, he took charge of his own relationships with all the surrounding possibilities. The only suggestion from the members of his family and society was that they expected him to be able to look after himself. Though he still could not walk, he knew where comfort could be found if he wanted it - but he seldom did. If his mother went to the river or the distant garden, she often took him along, lifting him to her by his forearm and counting on his help to balance himself on her hip or hold on to the sling if she wore one to support his weight. Wherever she went, if she put him down in a safe place, she expected him to remain safe without supervision. A baby has no suicidal inclinations and a full set of survival mechanisms, from the senses, on the grossest level, to what looks like very serviceable everyday telepathy on the less accountable levels. He behaves like any little animal that cannot call upon experience to serve its judgement: he does the safe thing, unaware of making a choice. He is naturally protective of his own well-being, expected to be so by his people and enabled to be so by his inborn abilities plus his stage of development and experience. But the latter is so meagre at this age of six, eight or ten months that it can contribute little in any case and next to nothing in new situations. It is instinct that provides for his sell-preservation."

There are plenty of things that can help ease a worried mind and open it to the possibilities of child exploration without hovering and fearful vibes. Those vibes are crucial to the outcome of a situation. Your thoughts and words are paramount:- 

Watch out
Oh no
*sharp intake of breathe*
You'll fall
That's not for you yet
You'll hurt yourself
Look out

Many of these can be self fulfilling prophecies. 

It takes time and concerted effort (and sometime hidden hovering) to truly let go of your fear surrounding your babies movements but once you do, your child's basic skills of balance, perception and strength will grow and grow. I have spent many a day *not* watching my babies master the stairs. I would always be slightly out of sight because my presence would always change the outcome. Either they would be concentrating on me instead of their movements or they would feel a pressure and both times would end up losing their concentration. 

Obviously there are going to major modern areas where letting go isn't possible and this knee jerk reaction of OMG! what if they......run on the road, put a toaster in the bath, touch a lion, is so common and just serves to perpetuate the fear. No one is saying to  leave your baby completely alone and never check in on them.  I am talking about the hovering, the directing, the constant verbal diatribe about their every move. The stopping and the fear based diminishing of their abilities. 

Can you allow your baby to venture to that slide? Can you find a massive open park or space and let her walk at her own pace. Can you leave her sitting in the bath for a few seconds whilst you fold a towel. These are all exercises to build up confidence in yourself and in your baby as a strong able non kamaze being!! Can you remove the stair gate which often only serves to create a more dangerous situation later on when they are completely mobile and have had little to NO practice of climbing them? Can you spend time with your baby showing them safe ways of climbing off the bed or down the stairs 'on your tummy feet first' is a favourite in our house for the first 9months or so!

"We act as though human nature were something to be afraid of; to constrain, modify or fight; to subdue and overcome. Somehow we have gotten away from believing that we evolved in a way that works. We believe that our nature has to be modified, opposed and controlled from the very beginning.
Our nature, like that of every other animal, works fine the way it is. But we do not trust human nature. We distrust it in infants, in children, and in ourselves." Leidloff interview

Can you let go of YOUR fears?


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