They say a pictures is worth a thousand words… well this picture is raising more than a thousand words! If you have been anywhere near an electronic device in the past week you have seen this TIME article, Are You Mom Enough discussed, torn apart and creating division.
Admittedly I was shocked by the picture, and actually thought it might be best if I just ignored it. But after reading several newsy commentaries about the article, I realized it tapped into a deeper issue for me:
How are we experiencing attachment with our teenagers??
So, with that I purchased the TIME electronic version (complete with videos) and read the article in depth.
The TIME article is about Dr. Bill Sears and the roots of attachment parenting that were a part of a book published in 1992. You might recognize this name, as his younger son Dr. Jim Sears is currently on an afternoon show The Doctors.
The article outlines a philosophy of parenting that encourages both parents to attach to the baby and places a great deal of the practicalities of attachment (i.e. breast-feeding) on the mother. This attachment theory has stirred a great deal of controversy in the psychology world, in fact two books have already been published this year refuting Dr. Sears’ principles. But what I find particularly interesting is how the TIME journalist appears to have heard the part about “the breast” as THE way to achieve attachment with your child.
While considering this article, let’s stop for a second over these two facts:
- TIME wants to sell magazines. Obviously. So they used a picture that would do just that. Guess what… it worked!
- Attachment theory was born from the absence of parenting – Dr. Sears and his wife were both abandoned as children. They experienced deep loss and from this place of pain they chose to orient their parenting around being available to their children.
What interests me most is the often unattached way we approach parenting when our kids become teenagers. We often want to pull away from our teenagers, because parenting them can be … well… really hard!
So just how does this article connect with teenagers?
Food is nourishment, but it is also a way in which we connect to one another as a family. Anyone with a teenager knows how sometimes to even get their attention we have to have food in the house?! Yet, how are we feeding our teens?
In August 2011, Columbia University released statistics around teens and engagement with addictive substances. One of their findings includes this quote found on page 28 of the report:
“Eating dinner as a family continues to be one of the best ways to help teens avoid smoking, drinking and using marijuana….Teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven times a week) were four times less likely to use tobacco, more than two times less likely to use alcohol and two and a half times less likely to use marijuana than teens who ate dinner with their families fewer than three times a week.”
I do not write to this to instill any sort of panic or fear. Instead, I hope this might be encouraging as you seek to parent your teen well. Maybe it does matter how our teenagers are nourished and that they’re engaged with their parents when eating dinner.
In hopes of not over simplifying this article, I must say, at the core of researching this article I realized the complexity and simplicity of food. It bonds us to one another from birth to death. Food speaks a universal language to our well being.
Maybe part of the answer to nourishing our teens is lying just right over there, in the refrigerator.
Have you read this TIME article? What did you think?