I’ve been struggling with the concept of the way we distance ourselves from our children from birth, rocking chairs, prams…everything over there and we are over here and wondering whether this distance we create between ourselves and our children from a young age has not contributed to the growing distance experienced between children and parents…
Watched an amazing programme about two snub nosed baby monkeys being born at the same time…one was coddled and carried and loved…the other one’s mother did not know quite what to do and he subsequently grew up on the outskirts, getting the occasional hug from family members and always looking so lost and forlorn, watching and waiting for somebody to give him some attention…it broke my heart because the expression was so much the same as the expression I see in a lot of kids around their families. Please see me, I’m right here. The coddled an cared for little guy grew up socially adept, strong and caring, contributing to the family needs, both feeding and caring for the other members in the family. The outcast little one grew up independent, looking after himself and turned into a loner always hanging on the outskirts of groups with no interaction skills and not sharing or caring. Sounds a lot like a whole generation of lost children we have.
Anybody who has had a child knows that instinct to pick up and love and cuddle their babies…you can not get enough of the smell and feel and the feeling of being the protector that comes with that. You are guilt ridden when all you want to do is sit and hold and pamper your little one…you hear the voices of the older generation, your grandparents, aunts, mothers saying that you will be spoiling your child, time to put him/her down…don’t turn him/her into a lap baby…you will regret this later on when he/she is thoroughly spoiled. What a load of bull… babies and young children need skin contact, the sound of your breathing, the smell of you and the sound of your heart beat to grow and feel loved and protected and part of the “tribe”. There has been numerous studies done that concluded that you can not spoil a baby by sharing skin and breath and love.
Almost all traditional cultures do not have baby chairs and rockers and prams to keep baby away from the mother, aunt, sister or father. They are carried and kept close to the body, handed from one member to the other, all the while showered with love and respect and specialness. We are all born special and that needs to be imprinted in the young to make them aware of their own uniqueness in the growing up process. They should not wander about trying to find acceptance and comfort from all kind of weird situations and experiences. We all want to be accepted and loved for whom we are at the end of the day.
Even though these cuddled young are kept close and loved they are still disciplined when the time comes for starting to test the lines…but the difference is that they always know that they have something to fall back on…a true connection that carries them and will always love and be there…it is in their very soul because it was infused in your arms with every breath and sharing of skin and soul.
The market for entertaining babies and children to keep that at arms length them is a huge market…but the truth is that we don’t need these things…all a child need is what you as parent can provide, ,,, a lap to sit on, shoulder to cry against, heart beat to learn the rhythm of life…fingers to pull, hair to touch and a face to get lost in and learn about expressions of wonder, love and pain.
Next time you want to pick up your precious miracle…go ahead…cuddle and coo and smile and talk and laugh…forget about the guilt that generations of indifferent parenting pushed onto society and enjoy every second and minute. This is your miracle, your gift and yours to love and hold and kiss and smell all day long.
Maybe the next generation will find us with stronger, more self confident, aware and caring youths, not looking for love and comfort in weird and dangerous situations…