March 02, 2011 — TLC for Your Family #25 – They Still Need Us

TLC for Your Family #25 – They Still Need Us
March 02, 2011


It’s easy to get the sense that our school-age kids don’t need us as much as they in fact do.

Even when we’re homeschooling, it’s easy to fall prey to the assumption that our kids are way more independent than they really are.

But little things crop up to remind us of just how much they really do need us. Here’s an example, from our family life:

We’ve gone sledding as a family numerous times this winter. Our boys, aged 11 and 6, seemed really “able” – so much more so than in past years.
What a relief to see, the first time we went! They dove right in, climbing and sledding on their own.

And after about the 5th sledding trip this season, we had pretty clear pattern. Elliot would sled within sight of us, on short, not-so-steep hills. Keegan would sled on his own, although on the same steeper, longer slopes we were on.

But as the trips continued, we started to notice they seemed less and less interested in sledding. They seemed to tire more quickly, and talk tearfully even about wanting to go home.

Hmmmm . . . .

In an attempt to change the dynamic, my husband and I both offered to sled with Elliot and Keegan, on the little hills, racing, etc..

Their little eyes lit up.


This was what they had been needing – more involvement and attention. We spent the next hour plus with happy little guys, all of us delighting in our closeness, sharing sleds down the hills, laughing, smiling, and crying “happy tears.”

Ah – what an endearing reminder it was that our boys still needed us.

And Dr. Gordon Neufeld would go even further, as he does in his book Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

He explains that children have very strong attachment needs, through at least the end of their teenage years. And that if we’re not their primary attachments, their peers will be, to their detriment.

That is, if children have their primary attachment bonds with mature, loving, involved adults, who protect their vulnerability, innocence and uniqueness, they can safely mature. But if such adults are not sufficiently involved, children can attach primarily to their peers instead of, and often in opposition to the adults who actually have the maturity to meet their needs.

What a sweet wake-up call. Because, in our heart of hearts, we want that kind of attachment with our boys too!

For more on how to nurture the kind of strong attachment Dr. Neufeld describes, I invite you to check out his book. The last chapter offers suggestions for strengthening your attachment with your older children, whether or not they are in school or homeschool.

And for the younger set especially, I recommend The Attachment Parenting Book, by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, R.N.. It covers such attachment tools as breastfeeding, babywearing and cosleeping.

Of course, breastfeeding and cosleeping can carry on well after infancy, and continue to be invaluable ways to nourish strong attachment. You can read a bit about how breastfeeding can continue at my Extended Breastfeeding page. And soon I’ll have cosleeping pages up as well, which I’ll let you know about through this ezine.

In any event, I wish you and yours “Happy Family-ing!”

Tiffany Clark
Family Communication Instructor
Family Lawyer-Mediator
Family-Life, Parenting and Conflicts Coach
Discover What Might be Possible in Your Family Life!

PLEASE NOTE: The rules governing my profession advise I inform you of the following. Issues of this ezine may periodically contain messages concerning Tiffany L. Clark’s availability for professional employment within the meaning of California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400. In any case, no statement in any ezine issue is intended to guarantee any result in any individual case. And neither viewing the information contained in this email, nor communicating with Tiffany, nor attending a talk or workshop series, establishes any duty of confidentiality, mediator-client relationship, coach-client relationship, or attorney-client relationship. These can only be established with a signed client fee agreement for mediation, coaching, or legal services respectively. Please also note that Tiffany is not a psychologist or therapist. Therefore, she is not capable of diagnosing you or any of your family members, or providing any other services only a licensed mental health professional could provide. You are advised to turn to such professionals if you desire such assistance.



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