Attachments

I had three related conversations this weekend:

#1: At home, Monday morning:

Daughter: Daddy, you going to work?
Me: Yeah, daddy’s gotta go to work today…
Daughter: I don’t want you to go to work!

#2: On my cell phone, 20 minutes into my 30 minute commute to work:

Ms. Kaz: Someone wants to talk to you.
Daughter: …
Ms. Kaz: Talk to daddy.
Daughter: I wanted to hug you.
Me: Aww. I’m sorry, sweetie, but I had to go to work.
Daughter: … I wanted to hug you.
Me: I know. I want to hug you to. I’ll give you extra hugs tonight.
Ms. Kaz: Give daddy a kiss over the phone.
Daughter: I wanted to hug you.

#3: Sometime this past weekend, at home:

Ms. Kaz: You know, she’s been really attached to you lately.

All of this reminded me of a column I read by John Rosemond, a syndicated parenting advice, uh, writer. I usually skim his column in a coworkers paper each week, and I don’t always agree with what he says. But this column popped into my head after these events.

No, not the question about pre-school. The one about “boundary issues.”

Now, what I experienced isn’t a boundary issue (I don’t think!), but in his answer, he states:

“In the first place, notwithstanding that your son does not need a grown man as a best friend, parenting is leadership, not friendship. A young boy cannot look up to and respect a dad who has established no boundaries in the relationship, and more than just about anything, every young boy needs a man to look up to and respect.”

I like to think my daughter, when she’s older, will be able to look up to me and respect me. The part I am worried about, and I touched on this previously, is that she wants me to stay and play because she thinks of me more as a friend than a parent.

I’ve tried really hard to be a well-balance father, if you will. I discipline when I need to. I stay firm when I need to. Perhaps I cave in a little more than I should. Maybe I am just paranoid (those of you who know me, and especially Ms. Kaz, will probably say this last statement is the answer).

Maybe I just need to relax, feel confident that I am doing a good job, and feel lucky that she misses me so much when I go to work.

[Kaz: Yes, of course I am just being paranoid. Reading about attachment here only helped cement that idea in my brain. As you’ll learn, I have confidence issues :) But it does make me curious as to why toddlers can become attached to one parent for a while, then switch to the other parent…]

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3 Responses to Attachments

  1. Like the pair of underwear hanging from a flagpole, the wind will change and you’ll become persona non grata.

  2. Brian says:

    As an adoptive parent, we’re constantly worrying about attachment. I really don’t think attachment is the opposite of “leadership parenting”. In fact, I think it’s required. Love=attachment=respect and have you ever noticed how easy it is to blow off your boss if you don’t respect him/her?

    [Kaz: uhm.. depends. You aren’t my boss, are you?]

  3. MyBestInvest says:

    Great job with your blog. Keep it up. I just wish I had thought of the name first!

    I try to figure out those boundary issues too with my 3yo daughter. But I try to pour on as much time and affection as possible so that when she’s older she doesn’t go looking elsewhere for the attention she wanted from me.

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