Daily we accept an assumed norm. We hand our kids over to a system/institution. Our gut questions us as we drop them off, especially that first day of school, but we listen louder to the movement of the day, the structure of society. We feel ridiculous, for having these feelings. We quiet our gut. We help each other feel bravery, goodness, tough-love-ness, for delivering our most precious possession(s), to a well-intended system gone awry.
Due to a lack of collective consciousness, most adults simply follow current practices that were not designed with attachment in mind.
We encourage our children to dis-attach from us with this ritual of school. By design, we encourage youth to spend more time with peers than with adults. We encourage a peer dependency, often without a strong enough adult-attachment to cope with the conditions of it (ie: I will like you if…). This leaves our kids insatiably/forever hungry for approval and belonging. We have nudged them away from a natural unconditional sense of themselves (ie: us loving them). No amount of money/accolades/prestige can replace that. For many, it becomes our ongoing unmet need. We are never free from the pursuit of closeness.. a perpetual insecurity.
There is no closeness that can surpass the sense of feeling known and still being liked, accepted, welcomed, invited to exist.
So, perhaps we have it all wrong. Perhaps what our kids (and ourselves and our communities) need most is to be grounded first and foremost in being known by someone. Perhaps, we use our resources (time/people/money/things/space), on just getting that right.
What is attachment? Most simply stated, it is a force of attraction pulling two bodies toward each other. Whether in physical, electrical, or chemical form, it is the most powerful force in the universe. We take it for granted every day of our lives.
In American society—and in other societies that function along the American model—most attachments to peers do not arise naturally. They spring from the young’s inability to endure an attachment void—the voids that occur when traditional bonds are eroded and the child finds himself bereft of a natural compass point. In such a situation, the brain is programmed to seek a substitute, someone to function as a working attachment. For a needy child, this agenda has the highest priority.If we wish to reclaim our children … re-create functional villages of attachment within which to raise our child.It’s not a complicated dance; in fact, it is surprisingly simple. The trick is the little attachment step at the beginning.– all quotes from Neufeld & Mate, Hold On To Your Kids
The more detached from us they become, the more they have to fit in with their peers; thus the more desperate they are to avoid being different. …In the psychological life of the developing young human being—and for many grown-ups, too, if we’re honest about it—attachment is what matters most.
Helping to lull us into complacency is the fact that, at least initially, peer-oriented children also tend be more schoolable.Our society is so topsy-turvy that we may actually come to value the child’s willingness to separate more than her instincts for closeness.
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