by Nobo Komagata and Sachiko Komagata
Preview (pdf file ~ 3MB); Adapted excerpt available as attachment theory overview
Although not a usual parenting book, Ava’s Bedside discusses one of the most important aspects of parenting, namely, child-parent attachment. According to current research, child-parent attachment is essential for more satisfying close relationships later in life and even for the ability to make sense of one’s life. In order to set a stage for the discussion, Part 1 of the book introduces a fable in which a dying hippo struggles with a question, whether her life was meaningful. Through conversation with other hippos, she finally realizes what is missing from her life. Part 2 of the book is a detailed commentary on the fable. The commentary discusses the importance of secure child-parent attachment for a meaningful life, referring to ideas in attachment theory. One of the most striking point is that a child’s attachment pattern forms during the first few years, before she develops explicit memory. Thus, most adults never know their attachment patterns. In many cases, childhood attachment is the source of various life issues: e.g., uncomfortable with one’s own parents, feeling not ready for having children. By learning attachment theory, parents will be able to reflect upon their own attachment patterns with their parents, and adjust the interaction with their children so that they can improve their children’s attachment to them. Furthermore, as the fable suggests, one may even be able to make better sense of her life in general. Note that “attachment parenting” books rarely discuss “attachment theory” and thus are not that helpful in this regard.
Part 2 contents
The book is available at Lulu.com (publisher) as the original edition (2008), a half-priced compact edition (2009), and a PDF version.