The Avoider as a Parent
Here is a quick review of the Avoider
How they were Parented
Little to no comfort, nurturing. Parents value tasks, independence, performance. Message: You’re fine, hurry up and grow up.
Don’t want, don’t need. Didn’t receive enough to know what they are missing. Confused. What do you want from me? Rarely ask for help. Self-Parent. Little to no comfort, nurturing.
Take care of myself and wish others would do the same. Rarely asks for help. Needs little.
Independence, self sufficiency. Shows love by doing tasks. If you don’t want, you cannot be hurt or disappointed.
Anxiety if others are emotional or needy. Otherwise flat, even. Anger if pushed to connect or deal with emotions. Most all feelings are underdeveloped.
Criticism from others. Feelings of inadequacy when confronted with emotions, needs or complaints. Neediness in others is viewed with contempt. Unallowable in themselves so hard to tolerate in others.
Detaches, withdraws. Avoids eye contact. As an avoider I have a lot of mistakes I can share from my own parenting experience.
I did not understand these attachment styles until my older children were late elementary and Junior high.
Even of you are the parent of adult children you can foster some great
conversations by learning and sharing what you see in retrospect.
Remember, these styles exist on a continuum, from mild to more extreme.
Some of what I share may fit, some may not.
Just take what is helpful.
The Avoider as a Parent
Babies and toddlers:
Often women who are avoiders feel overwhelmed with the birth of a baby.
Babies and toddlers are a bundle of feelings and needs and avoiders have minimized their own feelings and needs and often they find neediness in others difficult to tolerate.
Babies may be given more allowances but schedules and predictability may be overly
emphasized while bonding, eye contact, playfulness and lots of holding may be more
Avoider moms and dads may believe too much attention will spoil a baby and
physical needs (feeding, bathing, changing, sleeping) may be the primary focus of time
Since Avoiders have learned to be self sufficient, often at an early age,
they may expect more from a child than is age appropriate and hurry a child into
independence before they are ready.
Avoiders often say “I’m not cut out to be a stay at home mom.”
They may not understand the way they were parented makes it difficult to
know what a child needs at what age and how to respond.
If I could go back and re-parent my kids as babies and toddlers I would:
- Hold them more, sing, play and make eye contact that says “I’m glad you are here and I am with you.” (Happy eyes).
- I would let them have their blankets, pacifier, and comforting toys or animals as long as they wanted without encouraging them to give them up.
- I would see an infant and toddler as little persons capable of amazing awareness and responsiveness and try and see their behavior as the only way they can communicate their feelings and needs.
- I would tell them the words for their feelings before and after they learned to talk “I can see you are mad, sad, frustrated, tired, jealous, scared”….etc.
- I would take their feelings more seriously remembering they are very small and vulnerable.
- I would try as harder to understand their behavior rather than changing their behavior. (don’t get me wrong, the stove is still a “ut oh, no no.”)
- I would expect regression as a normal part of development and a sign that my child may be stressed instead of feeling I was doing something wrong.
- If my toddler was clingy and wanted me I would know that is a sign of healthy development not insecurity. They are suppose to want you a lot at this age and prefer you over other people. Some personalities need this more that other.
How about older kids?
- I would ask myself what stressors are in my child’s life when they go through a change in behavior.
- I would realize even small kids are capable of deep conversations. I would use the feeling words list once they could read.
- I would allow (and encourage) a wide range of emotions.
- I would try harder to learn the heart of my introverted child and pursue this one more. I would wait instead of interrupt knowing the introverted child has to think and process quietly before they can put words to things.
- I would play more with my kids.
What helped me most to improve as a parent was to learn to know and express my own
feelings and needs.
It is hard to help your child grow in an area of ones own deficiency.
The more I learned to do this the more I was comfortable with my kids expressing
feelings and needs.
It sound simple but it takes time and hard work.
Love and blessings,
Milan & Kay