Poor Bonding issues - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 05-25-2003, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Not quite sure if this is where I should post this. I've been having some trouble lately as I've come to realize some important things in the life of me and my children.

My first child was very colicky as a baby - breastfed, but no co-sleeping, I used a swing and bouncy seat quite a lot also. I had never been around babies and didn't really know what to do with her. Suffered some ppd, list goes on and on. Anyway, now she's 5 and there are days when I just don't feel a connection with her. It is extremely sad to me - I am absolutely heartbroken over it and I want to be so connected with her.

What makes it even harder, is that with my 2nd child i was much more into AP parenting. Infant stage was a breeze, we bonded very well - nursed longer than w/ my first, slept together with baby more, lots of attention to her because I felt more comfortable being a mom this time. She is now 2 and I feel like I am much more connected to her.

I do not want there to be a difference in my feelings for my children. I want to love them equally and to feel like we all have this great mommy-daughter thing going on. What can I do to improve this? I would give anything to go back and do that early life stage over again w/ my oldest. Can i still improve this relationship? Any advice?

Or am I just being selfish my wanting this great connection w/ my oldest? I am so confused. Please help mommas!! I sit here almost in tears now and my oldest is playing at my feet. Any advice?


(boy, I go back and look at my sig and it certainly doesn't match the feel of this message! - But I do absolutely love my girls! Love them both! Does this make any sense?)
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#2 of 8 Old 05-25-2003, 12:26 PM
 
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I only have one baby and she's just 9 months old, so I don't have much advice for you but I do have a thought...

Are you sure that you and your oldest aren't "bonded" or could it just be that her personality is a more independent one?

I have an IRL AP friend and both of us breastfeed, co-sleep, baby-wear, never CIO, etc. and we both have VERY independent daughters. Her daughter is walking now, but flat-out refuses to hold her mama's hand while walking. Both of our girls are more than happy to be doing their own thing away from us. They are NOT cuddlers! LOL I feel very attached and bonded with my daughter, but she is very much her own little person.

If you do have a bonding problem, I really don't think it's too late... better you work on it now than when she's 16. I hope some more experienced Mamas will be able to give you some ideas. Good luck... and don't be too hard on yourself. This parenting thing is tough work!
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#3 of 8 Old 05-25-2003, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh, she is definetly a very independent little spirit in some ways. But she also is a big attention seeker from me - constantly wants to cuddle and needs reassurance that i love her. That makes me think that something that I am doing or a signal that I am sending off is sending her the message that i may not be all "there". I don't want that to happen.

I think most of this is on my side of the fence. I just seem to .... I don't even know how to explain it. It's almost like I favor the younger one because I feel more attached to her - and I don't want that to be the case KWIM? anyway, just rambling on here.
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#4 of 8 Old 05-25-2003, 01:23 PM
 
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I would recommend two books:

1) Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. I'm reading this right now and it gives lots of really fun and interesting ways to connect with your child using play. by just taking a bit of time to be with your older DD and play with her on her level, at her games, you can really improve the bond between you

2) Giving the Love that Heals by Harville Hendrix. This is more complex book about parenting. It focuses on our relationship with our children, and how our "sticky points" tend to reflect issues we had with our own parents as children. While the overall message is to heal yourself while providing an emotionally safe and nurturing environment with our children, it does give very specific tools for communication, and exercises you can do to improve your parenting skills. The "intentional dialogue" would, I think, really help you break through to your DD and help her share a bit more of herself with you.

FWIW, I'm sure that alot of what you are observing is personality differences and also age differences. It's great that you recognize the importance of creating a good attachment with your babies, but don't beat yourself up over not being "AP enough" with your first!

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#5 of 8 Old 05-26-2003, 01:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by girliemom
oh, she is definetly a very independent little spirit in some ways. But she also is a big attention seeker from me - constantly wants to cuddle and needs reassurance that i love her. That makes me think that something that I am doing or a signal that I am sending off is sending her the message that i may not be all "there". I don't want that to happen.

I think most of this is on my side of the fence. I just seem to .... I don't even know how to explain it. It's almost like I favor the younger one because I feel more attached to her - and I don't want that to be the case KWIM? anyway, just rambling on here.

I know sooooo many people who have this situation with Number 1 vs Number 2 kids. Not eveyone of course, but I'd say more than 1/2 my friends say that how you feel is almost identical to how they feel with 1 and 2. And those people report no difference in how they parented 1 and 2 except of course almost everone is more confident with their second child.

Many 1st borns seem to have this combo of independance but constant need for reassurance. It may be what tends to make first borns very sucessful in life.
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#6 of 8 Old 05-27-2003, 11:00 PM
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Lots of people mess up with baby #1, mostly by being unprepared, as you say you were.

I've read that getting into a family bed habit can be a great way of reconnecting with older children. Of course, this means challenging some ideas of how furniture should be arranged in North American homes, but what is furniture compared to getting connected with your child?

Put everyone's mattress side by side in one room, and put all the dressers in another room (normal arrangement in Japan). Try it for a month.

Nighttime availability is really important for attachment. Don't ever let anyone tell you it's "optional". Nighttime is scary for little people and having you there is the basis for trust and attachment. Not responding to your children at night is a huge mistake.

Try a new sleeping arrangement. It sure can't hurt.
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#7 of 8 Old 05-27-2003, 11:06 PM
 
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nak

I second the Playful Parenting recommendation. Also check out that love languages book...the five love languages of children or some similar title.

I have three children, my second more ap parented than my first, but yet, I'm more bonded to my first. It could be your first is just more of an independent soul and has nothing to do with your parenting style at the time. Children are so adaptable, if you have grown into ap, so has she.
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#8 of 8 Old 05-28-2003, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are so awesome. Thank you for the support and reassurance and the recommended reads. I can certainly remember when I was young and being scared at night and wishing I could go sleep with mommy. And #1 constantly crawls in bed with us at night. Being on a queen size bed, ia gets a little crowded! The funny thing is that she does NOT like sleeping with her sister. Rivalry? jealousy? Normal kid behavior? I should quit analyzing and life would be so much simpler! Thanks again everyone!
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