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Healthy Detachment in Parenting

As a big proponent of attachment parenting, I had a hard time with the spiritual concept of detachment. Forming and maintaining healthy attachment to and with our children is a primary task of parenthood. It begins as soon as they are born with skin-to-skin contact. The act of breastfeeding a child releases oxytocin which is our body’s primary bonding chemical. We establish loving, trusting relationships with our little ones as they grow. These relationships act as a model and foundation for all future relationships. So why would spiritual greats like St. Teresa of Avila encourage us towards spiritual detachment from the things in this world.

Spiritual detachment is really about loving more, not less. It is a process by which we learn to put our relationship with the Lord first knowing with confidence that time spent with Him will give you the grace to love others more purely, wholly, completely. When we practice spiritual detachment we learn to love God with all our heart and soul and strength, and love others with the grace that flows from our love of God.

The de-prioritizing of everything else, occurs with the faith that the Lord will never ask us to do anything contrary to our vocation. Our loving God won’t ask you to turn away from loving anyone. For instance, you wont be asked to let your hurting child scream alone while you finish your devotion reading. But the Lord may invite you to awake a little earlier to spend a few moments with him in the early morning stillness.

Learning to practice detachment in parenting requires first opening yourself to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the God so that he can illuminate for you the area in your life from which you may need to detach. You can read more on this topic in my book Daughter by Design: Discovering Your Identity as God’s Beloved Daughter, available here.