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Can I Be An Attachment Parent and Christian?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I firmly believe in AP, and I sincerely miss having a strong faith presence in my life, (stopped going to church in my 20's, slowly drifted away from my faith - though it is still there somewhat - since then).

(I was raised a "Christian", going alternating to Catholic and Anglican churches, and attending a non-denominational Christian summer camp).

I would really like to start going to church again, and would like to raise my children with Christian faith. I've been trying to find a church that will fit with my beliefs, and although there are many options in terms of Christian faiths, (Anglican, Catholic, United, Baptist, etc.) they all seem to support "non-AP" parenting beliefs. Friends I know from various different Christian faiths all believe in spanking, time-outs, "parents are the boss and you'd better do what I said" type thinking, and I find that anyone I know who go to church regularly are very unsupportive of our AP practices.

Can Christianity and Attachment Parenting co-exist peacefully? Why can't I believe in God, but also believe that I need to meet my children's needs, listen to them, respect them, respond to them...

I personally think that the Bible can be interpreted in so many different ways, yet everyone seems to interpret it that corporal punishment is ok, and you have to control children, make them obey, etc.

What gives??
post #2 of 48
Oh Goodness, YES! I can't imagine being Christian and not practicing Attachment Parenting!

Please start checking out churches and visiting them. We attend a UCC (Congregational) church and have never had our parenting choices questioned. Keep searching until you find a place that feels comfortable.
post #3 of 48
Is there a Vineyard church near you? http://www.vineyardusa.org/site/about-vineyard

I had about given up on Christianity until I found a vineyard church near us. I love it. http://www.kentvineyard.org/ Very AP (kids running around, dancing, playing during service, gentle guidance from everyone, no pressure to believe one interpretation of the Bible, etc.)

I hope you find a good fit for you. It has been a relief for me to find a community of real, caring mothers that talk about God in a non-judgmental way. Good luck in finding a path that suits you and your family.
post #4 of 48
YES!! I think that is is so hand in hand. We are the ONLY ones it seems at our church but demographic also plays a role in that. I have a issue when the church group says "spare the rod...." What that really means is to gently guide them right, shepards NEVER beat there sheep, it was a very caring and loving relationship that was respected by both shepard and sheep. The rod is to gently guide, not beat.
Oh and JC himself more than likely breastfed until he was 7 and was babyworn!
post #5 of 48
I have had the same question more recently! It always seems that as my children turn 2 I take about a 2 year break just to get through the rough spot. I am anxious to see how others respond.
post #6 of 48
There is an excellent book about Catholic parenting that is very AP:

"Parenting with Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids" by Greg & Lisa Popcak

Here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Quote:
Catholics think of the Church as our Mother, and we are called to parent our children like she parents us. This is one of the things the Holy Father mean when he calls the family the "domestic church" (Familiaris Consorto, "On the Family"). So, what parenting tips can "Mom" offer us? First, through the family meal she prepares for us (Eucharist) we lean that God is a hand-son parent. Any time we call upon Him, He takes time out of the busiest schedule in the universe to be there, Body, Soul, and Divinity. Definitely a strong argument for quantity-time parenting.

The second most obvious lesson can be found in the Sacrament of reconciliation. On the one hand, Mom (the Church) has very high expectations for our behavior; on the other hand, when we fail, she is an extremely gentle disciplinarian. In fact, she never wastes time coming up with creative punishments. Taking her cue from the parable of the prodigal son, her entire discipline strategy consists of strengthening our relationship with the Father so that we will never want to leave home again. Remember, the whole point of those "five Hail Marys" penances is not to punish us (it would be a pretty stupid punishment if it was). Rather, it is an invitation to spend some time seated in the lap of our Mother, before our Heavenly Father, who showers us with a love so profound that we cannot help but be made better by it. Catholic parents are called to do no less for our own children.
All through the book, the authors advocate AP ideas like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and gentle discipline for every age level. I love this book!

More info here: http://www.exceptionalmarriages.com/book2.htm
post #7 of 48
of course you can. there isn't one set way to "parent" your child. as long as you abide by biblical principles, then you parent as you feel God wants you to parent your children.

(I'm not "AP" or any other popular label, but I parent the way I feel God wants me to, not the way a certain church does)

(FYI,NamastePlatypus - just had to throw it out there - not everyone who isn't an attachment parenter "beats" their sheep/children. not to start anything or be snide, but it's a very unfair generalization to make... I'm pro unschooling but that would be me like saying everyone who public school clearly does care enough about their children, ykwim?)
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post

(FYI,NamastePlatypus - just had to throw it out there - not everyone who isn't an attachment parenter "beats" their sheep/children. not to start anything or be snide, but it's a very unfair generalization to make... I'm pro unschooling but that would be me like saying everyone who public school clearly does care enough about their children, ykwim?)
Umm I didn't see any generalizations in her post - only that she had trouble with her church group's interpretation of the spare the rod passage.

OP I have some very AP Christian friends who belong to support groups like Gentle Christian Mothers. Their church seems to be very AP friendly. They are also very committed to their faith. If you belong to a LLL group you might ask around there to see if there are recommendations for AP friendly churches near you.

Good luck finding something that fits for you.
Karen
post #9 of 48
I strongly believe AP/gentle parenting is far more Christlike.
post #10 of 48
there are tons of churches and church communities that support AP parenting. but if you want a church that doesnt reinforce heierarchical and rigid and dogmatic parenting - look for a church that isnt that way itself, you know what i mean?

the more dogmatic the church and the churches views adn the churches rules, the more dogmatic the thinking on all things will be....
post #11 of 48
how about Quakerism?
post #12 of 48
I'm pretty sure that Mary practiced attachment parenting with her son Jesus, so AP should be OK for modern Christians.

I'm Catholic, and I've found plenty of AP support in my church.

Dr. Sears wrote a book on Christian parenting, check it out!
post #13 of 48
I'm Lutheran (ELCA, other branches may vary ) and my church is very attached family friendly. Took quite a bit of searching to find the right church though...good luck!
post #14 of 48
They definitely can co-exist. I personally don't believe the Bible condemns spanking, but I don't feel like that is a method that is an option for me (and I can find lots of Biblical arguments for why it's not a good idea). Though there are families who are poloar opposite on that than me at my church, everyone is respectful.

Personally, I think methods like the Pearls truly cannot exist with Christianity and that God will hold those people accountable for not respecting their children. Of course that's just my opinion.
post #15 of 48
I know how hard it is to be one of the only ones who practices gentle discipline in your religious community. I'm fairly new to it and already have met with some opposition from a few people.

But if you believe in God then you believe in Satan and what more would Satan want than to destroy relationships between parents and children? To damage their hearts and sense of self? I truly believe that the prevalent belief in spanking and rigid parenting is not a mistake and is truly a plan of the enemy.

He has done a good job of twisting parents' beliefs about discipline to his advantage.

While I believe that most of these Christian parents truly believe they are doing what is best for their kids and what God says is best, I also think they have been deceived.

Just because we are Christians doesn't mean we are perfect or immune to the works of the enemy.

I don't know many 'AP' parents at my church but the church itself, as far as I know, does not have a stance about discipline and I've never heard it preached on before. I also think it's important for them to see that their way is not the only way and that you can love, hear, and respect your child while raising them to be obedient and to love Christ.

Jesus practiced love, He never forced anyone to obey Him or to follow Him, He used teaching, educating, He painted pictures and always met people where they were and in a way that they could understand. What better example on how to parent our children?


Hope that came across right.
post #16 of 48
Well let's see, I think that I'm "crunchy" because I'm a Christian, not in spite of it.
It started in the garden, we were told to take care of the earth (major paraphrase I know). Near as I can tell that never changed. God commanded that the Israelites let the earth rest every 7th year when they entered the promised land. (I sense a theme here )
According to Samuel, the age of weaning was 3, that was when he went to serve in the temple.
Jesus rebuked his disciples for trying to keep the children from him, he wanted them to come and blessed them. He said that unless we became like a little child we could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Just like his treatment of women, his treatment of children was radical for the time.

I truly believe that AP and Christianity are completely compatible and that AP flows from Christianity naturally as a result of the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).
In my current church (a Calvary Chapel), probably 90% of those with little ones are co-sleeping, about 1/2 to 3/4s wear their babies, about 1/2 cloth diaper, and all of them breastfeed.
As for discipline, I think you need to work with each child on the basis of what works, and evaluate and update as they grow up. What works at 2 isn't the same as what works at 8, or at 14 even with the same child.
The very short answer is that you defiantly can be both, or just see them as the same thing, as a part of each other.
These are my thoughts. I hope they are helpful to you as you walk this path.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
there are tons of churches and church communities that support AP parenting. but if you want a church that doesnt reinforce heierarchical and rigid and dogmatic parenting - look for a church that isnt that way itself, you know what i mean?

the more dogmatic the church and the churches views adn the churches rules, the more dogmatic the thinking on all things will be....
That is not necessarily true. I belong to possibly the most hierarchical and dogmatic church on earth, and I have only heard pro-AP parenting advice from its representatives.

Actually, I think only a very small number of Christian sects actually take this strict, harsh parenting stand. I am pretty sure the majority take no particular stand on AP or methods of day to day parenting, and its members parent in whatever way is usual in their area. But I have not tried them all, so I could be wrong.
post #18 of 48
I was going to recomend the Popcak's book, it is great. They also have a number of others.

Personally I believe AP parenting is very Christian. One of the biggest reasons the Church (Catholic) is so pro life is because we believe that everyone is a person and due the same respect as any one else. So as Christian parents our job is to guide and lead our children, not beat them.... as some misinterprate.
post #19 of 48
I am not Christian, but I would think that Jesus would be a very AP kind of guy .
post #20 of 48
YES!
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