Sunday, May 22, 2011

Attachement Parenting vs. Montessori

About a month ago there was a post on the Montessori blog which really struck home to me.  It was about Montessori and Attachment Parenting and if you could do both.  See article here

It has been an issue I have struggled with for the past 2 1/2 years.  As a Montessorian I was to follow the the Montessori way, but as a parent, I wanted to follow my instincts.  Well, why should that be exclusive to what is almost a basic premise of the Montessori philosophy? "Follow the Child" is the motto.  We observe and follow the inner desires of the child (there needs to be a HUGE note here, as this does not mean give into all their whims and demands).  You observe their development and aid them so they can reach their full potential.  We don't create obstacles, and we don't hinder them.  These are basic tenants of the "Montessori Way" if you will.  However, they also seemed to contradict some of the AP tenants.

When I started with my first child, I had not read what AP was and it was not that I chose to do that.  I did what my mom had, and what I felt I was comfortable with.  I wanted to have her in our bed, or next to us in the co-sleeper, I wanted to carry her close, mostly so she could be with me, and I could have my hands free.  I wanted to respond to her cries when appropriate and go off her cues.  I refused to be a human pacifier or nurse her as the only solution to the cry.  She did learn to self-soothe by sucking her thumb, and this I wonder if I could have prevented.  I also stayed mostly at home with her for the first 6-8 weeks with very few outings.  It was important that she and I build a strong connection for many reasons.  Well these also fit with what I read in Dr. Montanaro's book as well.

So, why the conflict?  Well it's mostly on minor details. Regardless, I choose not to change much once I had our second.  I had her at home, and from that moment she has been in our bed.  She is now almost 4 months and I am starting to see signs when she could be transitioned to a mattress on the floor, as we did with our first (who was almost 9 months). 

Even with our second, I questioned if I was being true to Montessori, but yet, I felt that I was being true to me and my family and that was more important.  I knew I was guiding my children with a heavy influence of the M. philosophy and that was good enough for me.  I doubt I will change much as I feel I have allowed our daughter to be independent and guided her in a way to become so, and am continually questioning the method in which I do so.  I do question if sometime she has had too much freedom and independence and this is why we have struggles and end up exhausted and frustrated by 8 p.m.  Or then again, it could just be that she is being who she is, and is being a 2 year old who is exercising her will- which is a very strong one!

I took the time to respond on the blog, so you can see what I have said there.  Please feel free to share your feelings about this. I'm still figuring this out, so I guess I won't know if I did the "right thing" until I'm a grandmother.  Oh my, now I feel old.

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