Intuitive Parenting is a hotly debated topic right now. Debra J Snyder’s book Intuitive Parenting: Listening to the Wisdom of Your Heart describes her own journey against difficult odds to become an Intuitive Parent. Its discussions on telepathic communication on a deep level between parent and child seem out there and fringe to some. She encourages a guilt-free approach to parenting by encouraging you to believe you have all the tools you need to parent if you listen to your heart and intuition.
There is already a name for the feelings and emotions Snyder describes. It’s called Attachment. It is much more complicated than one might think at first look. Intuitive Parenting requires a high level of attachment between parent-child. When that is present, all the benefits that Snyder describes are present.
Unfortunately, Attachment disorders make up a high volume of behavioral problems in children. Stigma and a lack of information make Attachment Disorders even harder to navigate than the implied issues. Attachment Disorder is when a child has difficulty trusting and refuses to bond with any parental figure in their lives. These disorders are characterized by violent outbursts, manipulative tactics, false accusations, stealing, lying, and other behaviors that bring censure onto parents.
Attachment Disorder is present in many adoptive children, children who had that parent was ill in their early years, and children who have experienced parental abandonment, neglect, or abuse. Many adoptive families are in crisis every day as they experience the fall out of Attachment Disorders. Intuitive Parenting can sound like it is new age nonsense but the more we learn about Attachment Disorders the more data supports Intuitive Parenting.
What causes attachment disorders?
We know that Attachment Disorder can come from being unwanted in utero. It can come from drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. It can also come from not being held enough, not being played with and talked to in the early years, and not getting one on one time with a parent. Intuitive Parenting can prevent Attachment Disorder as it encourages bonding to a point that you become aware of your child’s needs in an intimate way.
My daughter has an Attachment Disorder from her years of abuse and neglect with her biological family. She came to live with me at age nine and the past years have been one challenge after another. We struggled to connect because she believed she everyone would abandon her. She pushes others away or acts so charming that few realize they know very little about her on a personal level.
The moment that changed our relationship forever was when I embraced who I was and used Intuitive Parenting without even knowing it. She had pushed every button I had that day and driven herself to tears trying to get someone to react to her behavior in the ways she was used to; violence and threats. She sat on her bed grounded with tears streaming down her face waiting for the other shoe to drop or me to say something she could use to rile me up.
A moment I will always remember…
I made her look at me in the eyes which is something children with attachment disorders have trouble with. It is far too intimate for them and often sets off their warning bells but it’s necessary for them to ever gain attachment. “This isn’t you. Inside of you is a voice I can hear that is saying don’t do this. That when you calm down, you’re going to regret this. You don’t really want to be put with a different family and you don’t want to be sent away. You’re happy here and it scares you but I’ve waited my whole life for you and it doesn’t matter what you do you will always be my daughter. I can hear the voice inside and that’s the one I’m going to listen to.”
The look in her eyes, not her face, but in her soul changed. She burst into the first real tears I had ever seen and threw herself in my arms. I held her and while our journey is far from over it was a turning point. She trusts me to confess how she feels. Her therapist was startled at how bonded we are considering her attachment issues and traumatic past. She has put my promise to the test many times since but every time she does, I can hear the little girl inside all over again.
Helping your child
Even children who can speak have a quiet voice inside. Every child gets scared and retreats behind a wall. Build a relationship with your child and listen to the inner voice that tells you when something is wrong. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you think is wrong and leave room for them to correct you. Your child is a person who is vulnerable and has a dark side. They experience shame especially at the Pre-teen and teen levels and that shame can cause them to believe you won’t accept what is going on. Make sure you are in a calm place no matter what they have to tell you.
My daughter and I have “Safe Table”. Safe Table is when she needs to tell me something but is afraid of judgment or consequences. I don’t always grant Safe Table when I think she might need consequences. But, most of the time she just wants to talk to me about something that is weighing on her.
Safe Table means I will never tell her she’s a horrible person. This safe space means I never tell her that it is not okay to feel that way. I can say it’s not okay to act on her feelings. Maybe I’ll tell her that she needs to raise the issue therapy to resolve it so she doesn’t have those feelings anymore.
Before you go, check out another article from one of our awesome Mom Advice Line contributors:
- Helping Children Learn About Resilience Through Stories
- Intuitive Parenting: Figuring Out How To Reach Your Child
- THIS Is The Best Age To Take Kids To Disney World
- Will Breastfeeding Hurt A Lot?
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.