Many people of a certain age will speak darkly of the 1960s and the culture of “finding self,” “Doing what feels good to Me,” and just the general Me-Myself -I unholy trinity approach. It was the time of Rogerian therapy with his mantra of “How does it feel for you?” along with Maslow’s “self actualisation.” Many adults who had to grow up in that climate found that while their parents were doing what felt good to them and seeking their self actualisation, that the children’s needs were neglected and they were left to grow up without love, support or guidance. On the worst end of it was rejection and abuse.
Is that why attachment parenting is now the new approach? Is it a reaction to the lack of care so many received in the 60’s and 70’s even into the ’80s? Could it, in some forms be an over-reaction? I don’t know, I’m no expert. But I am curious.
The 70’s and 80’s were the time of femism and not just the good stuff of remembering women and girls have rights too- but the stuff that ripped away the rights of little girls and wives and mothers. It is something many women have had to survive or recover from. But I think things have improved for mothers these days quite a bit. It is no longer quite so prevelant to see mothers as non-persons who have betrayed their sex. It isn’t quite so acceptable to put the needs of children someway down the list after “how does it feel for me?” and this has given real freedom to mothers again.
Mother’s are not just gudgingly allowed to breastfeed, so long as no one knows about it, we are encouraged to do it for our own health and the health of our children. Even the World Health Organisation has caught up and now recommends that children be breastfed for at least two years.. We are now encouraged to co-sleep as research shows this actually helps infant health and can prevent cot-death.
On SIDS (cot death) we haven’t quite shucked off the “mothers are dim/mad/bad” views as any parent who has lost a child to SIDS will find social workers and police investigating them.- and not always neutrally or even with much sesnitivity. But perhaps the fact that one doctor has been struck off for his false allagations against mothers, based on his overbearing arrogance, is a good step forward.
Apparently, Badman excepted, we have also moved so far from the dubious diagnosis of Munchousans by Proxy that most medics wont go near it. But getting a doctor to listen to you when you are just a mother is still a massively uphill battle.
More and more research is coming out that backs up what ordinary families have known for centuries; children need a mother and a father who love them and are there for them. They need a mum and dad who love each other, even when it’s hard. More research still shows that younger children do better physically, emotionally and mentally if they stay with mum for the first years of life. But the needs and genuine rights of children are unimportant when clashed with the cultural push for two incomes per family and adults being allowed any kind of lifestyle they choose-and the children had better like it or lump it.
Of course research is a strange thing. If it says what people want it to say, it gets accepted and even pushed onto the population. Flaws in the research are ignored or explained away, IF the research says something politically or culturally convenient. If it says something dreadfully unpopular such as the research that shows children survive better in families where a parent dies (suicide excepted) than where they divorce, then who ever gets to hear of it? The MSM ignore it, and people who work with families only whisper about it in dark corners.
Charlotte Mason was horrified at the growing trend of putting children into schools or other institutions before they were seven years old and pointed out that even the Spartions who removed boys fromt their families for boarding schools to learn to fight, did not do so until the boy was seven- and even that system failed.
I am not sure if she ever wrote her views on compulsory education which had only been in law a relatively short time when she was at the height of her career. But her love of children and how they learned would, I am sure, have made her horrified at the vast factory like secondary schools of today.