attachment parents and schooled children??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-24-2002, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been wondering about strongly attached parents
and children and how school work for them? A few years
ago, I read something about attachment parenting for
teens. I would very much welcome the experiences and
comments and wisdom of anyone who has sent their
child to school. Do you feel like you have enough time with
your child? What do you think about the length of the
school day? I suppose I'm asking more than those
questions, but it feels right to start here. I'd be concerned
that if I sent my child to school, I wouldn't have enough
time with him each day. What is it like for a sensitive,
dreamy, independent, introverted, bright child to go to school
for 7 hours (? is this right?) each day?

I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who'd like to respond.
There have been so many times that I wished I'd had the
courage to ask questions and seek understanding through
the experiences of other soulful parents.
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#2 of 15 Old 12-24-2002, 01:03 AM
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mine aren't really in school yet, but I work, so I guess I'm away from them a ton already. But I'll bump this back up for you hoping that someone else will respond.
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#3 of 15 Old 12-24-2002, 01:23 AM
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Hi. My sweet boy started first grade this year. He goes to a small, private, alternative school in my town - it is parent cooperative. We've been very happy so far. My son is the sort of kid who needs constant stimulation, and thrives with other people around. He is already very attached his teachers and seems very content with his life.

I do miss him though. And it is especially hard for me that he spends the best part of his day with other people. He is tired after school, and ends up in bed early each night. Less time with me. But when he is home for breaks he gets bored and restless, and asks to go back!

Things may be different with my second child, who is more attached than his very independent natured brother ever was.
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#4 of 15 Old 12-25-2002, 10:18 PM
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My son goes to public school and is in 2nd grade. He is connected to us. AFterschool we try to keep a routine that includes reconnecting before moving on to free time and homework, etc. We sit down with snack together. I think the more securely attached a child is in the first three years, the easier it can be to venture off to school. It is certainly not without challenges, but the foundation of great attachment makes it o.k. Homeschooling parents may differ in opinion and I have not homeschooled personally. My son also seeks constant stimulation and would be bored and/or seeking stimulation that I wouldn't want for him if he were home (he would be begging for electronics). He loves school, loves his teacher and enjoys learning. Being attached to us makes him able to be successfully attached to other grown ups; he is wild about his teacher. Each child is different, of course, and deals with school differently. Knowing your child and trusting your "gut" are the best ways to know.

How old is your child now?


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#5 of 15 Old 12-26-2002, 09:05 AM
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My 3 year old very attached ds recently started preschool at the recommendation of a speech evaluation. (Two monings a week, for 2 1/2 hours.) It was much sooner than I had planned to send him off to school. He enjoys preschool, as long as I remain w/him. I am glad to stay, however this leaves my one year-old at home w/a sitter. My children have never been in daycare or any situation where they are left w/people that they do not know well & feel safe with. Thus, the transition to prechool for ds is going to require a lot of time and support. The transition for *me* has also been a struggle. The thought of leaving my son w/strangers, in an unfamiliar setting... (Staying w/him is also helping *me* to feel more comfortable w/the whole idea as well.) Luckily for us, the school is wonderful and have been very supportive of our needs. My advice would be to take it gradually, for both you & your children.

Happy mama of four Wild Things
"And now," cried Max "let the wild rumpus begin!"
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#6 of 15 Old 12-26-2002, 05:08 PM
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I was actually thinking of posting something similar because of MY reaction to DD starting kindergarten. At her preschool it was just accepted/expected that Mom and Dad would hang around if they wanted to. Some days I spent the whole session in the classroom acting as an aide. Other days, DH was the "human jungle gym" in the playground with the kids. DD has great difficulty separating from me, and so we just didn't for the first few months...

Enter kindergarten, and well, let's just say September was challenging. And I feel like we speak such a different language from the school culture. I'm sure the teacher is sick of hearing me say, "I'd like to reframe that evaluation as..." you know, substitute persistent for stubborn, exuberant or spirited for loud, sensitive for drama queen...:

I thought being the homeroom mom would help, but instead, at both parties, DD has had a meltdown. She just can't handle the excitement of me being in the room and sharing me, and the conflict between wanting to help the grownups versus missing out on some of the party play just overwhelms her. This was the occasion of the charming conversation with the teacher that included the term "drama queen"

So DH and I are very conflicted now. DD seems happy, but as attached parents, we're NOT. Yet we don't know if we could make homeschool work for us (DH would have to "teach" sometimes, and he ONLY does silly; by that I mean, he plays board games and sports, reads to her, and rides bikes with DD, but cannot keep it together through one of her messy experiments and is actually frightended by art projects!!)

I'd like to hear more from parents of older kids who've survived this transition...
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#7 of 15 Old 12-26-2002, 11:02 PM
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My strongly attached 28 month old son has been attending 28 hours a week of child care since he was 5 months old. He is incredibly sensitive, loving, stubborn and strong willed, nurturing of smaller children, and happy, happy, happy. He is totally thriving! None of his experience in the home child care have changed him for the worse; and, I do believe that it has been a very positive experience for him. I have heard from many people that attached children do better in all situations because they have such a strong trust in their parent(s). As a teacher, I know which (few) of my students have been attachment parented-- they are usually the ones who more quickly and easily form a meaningful relationship with me! I have no worries about my AP baby going to school.
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#8 of 15 Old 12-26-2002, 11:40 PM
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I wonder, teachma, if that is what I am seeing...that because she is secure, she trusts her teacher...

I guess I'm disappointed because the teacher is not the nurturing presence I would like, but she does seem to like DD, and dd likes her...tho' not her rules. But then DD hates all rules anyway!

She has figured out that the classroom aide is for hugging, but not the teacher. I just wish that I could hand them all an AP-to-mainstream English dictionary so we could all speak the same language
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#9 of 15 Old 12-27-2002, 05:34 PM
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One of the things that I often feel is misunderstood is the difference between being attached emotionally and being attached physically. When children grow up knowing that their parents are emotionally available to them, they are able to handle changes and separations better than they would if they did not have that strong emotional attachment. Parents don't have to be physically in the child's presence all the time. If the child is used to having the parents around, it makes sense that the child needs some time to make a transition from one safe environment to another.

Not all children handle these changes the same way, and some children prefer to have their parents around the school. I think it is important for parents to be realistic, though, about their presence at the school. I have seen the situation where a child and parent bring a power struggle to the classroom and it is just not fair to the other children or to the teacher. I think that if you think you and your child might have a hard time making the transition to school, you do it at a time when your relationship is positive and pleasant, rather than difficult or even antagonistic.
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#10 of 15 Old 12-31-2002, 06:24 PM
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I haven't found school to interrupt our time together. My kids enjoy it (all go to public schools). I do have certain rules. They don't play with anyone after school except on Fridays. I think they get enough of other kids during the day. I volunteer alot so I can watch how they're doing. I also try to get to know the teacher pretty well. We still co-sleep and all that. And the boys are pretty open so we have talked to them about other kids and their behavior (which is the real problem).
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#11 of 15 Old 12-31-2002, 06:32 PM
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I spend lots of time in my 1st graders class, do the field trips, help teach lessons, do all the activities etc. I walk her into the room in the a.m. and walk in to get her in the p.m.

Sometimes I pack a little lunch for me and the 2 year old and go have lunch with her. I write her little love notes and put them in her lunch box - she just LOVEs that at this age anyhow....

Sometimes I keep her home and we play hookey

For me, its all about redefining and restructuring my attachment at different stages of her life. It is a sad/wonderful/challenging thing to apply attachment as they grow.

All part of growing up as a mommy I suppose!
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#12 of 15 Old 12-31-2002, 11:15 PM
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We love our school. It is ps and small. Very active PTA. Many of after school acitivites my shcil attend are right there at school. Why play chess with stangers when you can meet other kids in your onw school? HE loves cooking club and game clubd too. all are sponsered by PTA and free to parents. We love to volunteer ins school. OUr weeks ends are very laib back becuase my son is not into soccer and things like that. I talk to the teacher 2-3 times a week. we feel conneted and attached. MY younger one in really good pre school with very warm teachers. We have an eveing routine . So, I do not feel disattacehd in any way.
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#13 of 15 Old 01-03-2003, 06:32 AM
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My son is now in second grade and public school. He is very active, loves the outdoors, loves other kids. I transitioned him into a Montessouri pre-school very slowly. I sat in the corner reading for about a month until I felt he built a trust and good connection with his teachers. My first day leaving was rough, but I had confidence in his enjoyment of the school and the teachers. After that he loved going off to school...half a day, 3 days a wk.

In 1st grade he went to the public school. The days were much too long, too much indoors, too much florescent lights, too many wild kids, confusing rules (kids vs. teachers, boys vs. girls). But he also loved the excitement. Every afternoon, once home, he had melt downs, bounced off the walls, challenged every home rule... Only late at night, snuggling in the family bed did he seem to find peace.

Near the end of the year he asked to homeschool, so we agreed for this year.

We homeschooled for 1 month, travelling in Europe. It was very challenging as he is much more active than me, and I am not great with discipline - but exciting. 2 weeks back home, and one playdate with old school friends and he wanted to go back to school - to friends and recess. So, sad as I was to give up our homeschooling adventure, and glad to have more quite time, and he went back.

This year he has done much better. Handles the full day, the kids and rules better. He has a very young, energetic teacher. I constantly struggle with the values taught, the movies shown, the lack of outdoors, the sweets all around him. He talks of homeschooling some other year and hopes that we will find him a more alternative school.

Meanwhile next year my daughter becomes of age to go to the public school. There is no longer a Montessouri kindergarten locally and I am thinking to pick up and move the family to a location where there is a great alternative school that supports my values.

I think school is great for my very social kids. I don't miss them when I feel they are having fun. I love the peacefull time home alone, or the time to work (freelance). But I think our very well intentioned local public school is a slow virus to very lively, healthy, inspired, sensative children.

I welcome any advice of where to move to, to find a healthy, affordable school environment - see my looking for new home/great schools! posting.

good luck on your exploration.
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#14 of 15 Old 01-08-2003, 02:54 PM
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My dd is in 3rd grade and I think it's usually harder on me than her. She enjoys the time with her friends,she excells at school and attends a special program for gifted kids that probably meets her needs better than I could homeschooling. After school we spend time together, if she's had a "lonely" day we snuggle up for a while and talk,if she's had a good day I just sit with her during homework and a snack,sometimes we'll play a board game after. Some days she'd rather go play with her friends,some days she wants more "mom time". I just try to follow her lead.
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#15 of 15 Old 01-12-2003, 12:54 AM
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I think securely attached children end up being the more independent, self-motivated, though it may take longer for this to be apparent in some children. What's commonly called independence in babies and toddlers is often a *lack* of secure attachment and will come out later. Of course a Mom can return to work full-time at three months postpartum and still attachment parent. It's in how it's handled.

We have moved a lot, and I found our most recent school was not a nurturing place for my daughter. We gave it a good run - she spent all of second grade there and we left in November of third grade. Now we homeschool and I was reluctant on a personal level, but anxious to do so because I suspected she really needed it. We certainly have wrinkles to iron out, but I have found an interesting return to that feeling of togetherness we had as an AP toddler/mom pair. Since my husband freelances this arrangement is much better from a scheduling perspective.

(I have taught in a Waldorf school and I think one of my challenges is to be *less* rigid with the schoolwork, so getting work done is not a problem for us! I was worried about not enjoying the homeschooling or feeling trapped, but it hasn't happened yet.)

Judging your child's teacher can be difficult. I moved my daughter from one kindergarten class to another even though she adored her teacher-- it just seemed a better environment from the perspective of what I wanted her to have. Beware of a teacher who can't say positive things about your child. Criticism and questions are normal, of course, but there should be plenty that matches what you know of your baby also.
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