“Parenting is not about techniques. Parenting is about a relationship. You may read all the latest books, but if your relationship with your child is not well established because you’re too stressed, too busy, or too involved in your career, even the best techniques will not work.
In the context of a healthy relationship your proper parenting instincts will be triggered. When you’re with a baby, and the baby starts making big eyes at you and smiling, what’s your response? But when we are disconnected from our kids, because we haven’t been present enough in their lives, they don’t trigger our parenting instincts; they trigger our anxieties, our resistance, or our rage, and then we parent from those places.
The main trap parents fall into is thinking that this child is my child just because I am the biological parent. In the emotional sense
the child is mine only if he or she is attached to me
. In this society we tend to take that attachment for granted, but we can’t afford to do that. In older cultures parents used to be with their young children every hour of the day. In this society we often don’t see our kids for most of the day, so our status as parents is on shaky ground. When we’re not around, our kids tend to connect with people besides us, particularly other kids, who often supplant us as the primary figures in our children’s lives, even though we’re the caregivers and providers. Children are looking for an emotional connection. When they find it in other kids, they’re less concerned with what we as parents expect or demand of them.”