For how long can I be away from my child?

mind less, modified 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 6:54 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 6:54 AM

For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
My plan is to go on retreat in August for a stream entry attempt. My child will be one year and four months then, and I'm afraid that her attachment (in the "attachment theory" sense) to me will be effected negatively. When I was in that age my parents were away from me 11 days and I was told that I didn't recognize my father when they returned. For how long can I be away? Any parent here with experience with this dilemma who can make a reasonable estimate? One week? 10 days? Two weeks?
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 10:44 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 10:44 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I don't know if this is the forum for this question. I personally would focus on your baby and practice metta with the baby but that's just me. According to psychologists babies (including primate babies) need considerable affection. If they don't get what they need they search for it in other people when they are adults. The consistent unconditional love develops their self-esteem so they feel more secure. If you show love and patience so that the child has no doubt you love him/her I'm not sure what a couple of weeks gone would do.
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Blackcat Run, modified 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 11:51 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/3/13 11:51 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/10/13 Recent Posts
My son is nine month old, and I am going on a retreat later this month.
However I have never thought about its possible effect on my son, and now I am feeling a little guilty about that.
I will see how it goes, and maybe follow up on this thread later.
mind less, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 2:10 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 2:10 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
East P:
My son is nine month old, and I am going on a retreat later this month.
However I have never thought about its possible effect on my son, and now I am feeling a little guilty about that.
I will see how it goes, and maybe follow up on this thread later.

For how long is the retreat?
mind less, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 5:12 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 5:12 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Richard Zen:
I don't know if this is the forum for this question.

Mabybe not, but I hope you are wrong. Since most people get kids, questions about conflicts between family life and the monastic/retreat life is as relevant to a forum as the forum is relevant to the spiritual life, IMHO. I suspect that there might even be a taboo around these questions in dharma circles. I have asked the same question in parenting forums, and the standard answer is that when coming home after two or three days, the parent feel terrible - the focus is on the parents feelings despite that the question is explicitly stated the other way around.

Maybe I have to accept that this is not the right time, and focus on other aspect of my personal development instead (morality e.g.), and then after a few years, work my way up to EQ again and go on a longer retreat. If the hypothesis about being stuck in DN for a long time is correct (I'm only convinced to 50%), I've been stuck there for the last 20 years, and just recently (mid November) started to see the light in the other end of the tunnel. It would be a pity to not even get a fair shot at SE when I'm this close, but that's just my ego talking.
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PP, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 5:50 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 5:50 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 376 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
I'm interested in the topic as I'll be a fist-time father in four months. As far as I know, babies that young have only connection to their mothers. So may be, the eventual problem could be your couple, not your son. My question: is it impossible to meditate 1 hour daily during the first months? I've read in other forum, that they use the baby naps to have some time to sit (perhaps only 30 minutes).
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Simon Ekstrand, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 7:52 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 7:52 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 245 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
Hi Pablo,

Pablo . P:
I'm interested in the topic as I'll be a fist-time father in four months. As far as I know, babies that young have only connection to their mothers. So may be, the eventual problem could be your couple, not your son. My question: is it impossible to meditate 1 hour daily during the first months? I've read in other forum, that they use the baby naps to have some time to sit (perhaps only 30 minutes).


Babies of any age have connections with the people that take care of them and are close to them. While a mother may spend slightly more time with an infant due to breast feeding there is nothing inherently "worse" or "less" about a fathers connection to an infant/child if he chooses to spend time with it.

Regarding sitting time with a baby, that entirely depends on the baby. I'd say that with many (most?) babies sitting for an hour a day is certainly possible as the baby will probably sleep in intervals at least that long. A bigger problem may well be that your own lack of sleep will make sitting difficult. With my own children there has actually been more free time in the period from 0 to 9 months than from 9 months to approximately 18 month due to sleeping patterns etc.

Of course, if your unlucky enough to get a baby with colic or similar issues it's probably easier to just cut back on the sitting time until things have settled down somewhat.

As an interesting side note, the hospital where we had our second daughter had a nice meditation room that I frequented both before and after the birth which was quite pleasant.

Metta,
Simon
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Simon Ekstrand, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:05 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:05 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 245 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
Hi Morgan,

Personally, I'd probably avoid being away for more than a week from a child that young. Any longer and I suspect that the child will start being shy of you when you get back and other similar issues, though it's possible that that may pass quickly. This is purely my own opinion based on what I've seen with my own children, with no backing in any studies or with any particular knowledge in child psychology.

Also, there is the aspect that taking care of a small child alone for an extended period is really hard work. That is probably also worth taking into consideration when deciding on retreat lengths.

Metta,
Simon
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Jake , modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:18 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:18 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
I wouldn't worry too much about it. In my experience the daily routine is very important and a strong daily routine to return to makes disruptions for vacations or one parent being away fora few days totally workable. Furthermore what is most important in my experience is the balance of clear boundaries and expectations and consequences with the unconditional love. This combo is what produces solid trust or healthy attachment in the positive sense. With these factors in place anomalies in the schedule won't disrupt attachment IME. And I have found the self awareness needed to balance discipline with unconditional love an incredibly fruitful practice so I would suggest staying open to the possibility of daily life AS practice and not just of sila but of insight as well. I experienced SE with a ten month old sitting during naps mostly. My son had a convenient tendency to wake up with a cry just as I would hit 10th Nana lol until my center of gravity shifted to eq. Verry synchronistic.
Lara D, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:33 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 8:33 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 54 Join Date: 1/29/13 Recent Posts
In my estimation, being away for a few days shouldn't be that bad. I'd recommend no more than a week, though. I think it's important for children to have their parents around, the more the merrier. We don't live in villages and close-knit communities like used to be the case, so it can be stressful for the mom and the kid when no one else is there to help out.

On that same vein, though, why not just practice at home for a bit and ask for some quiet time for a few hours a day? I can imagine that retreats at home aren't really the same experience, but at least that way you won't have to spend any money and you still get lots of time to devote to practice.

Oh well, I'm sure it'll be fine whatever you decide to do!
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Dan G, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 9:14 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 9:14 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

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Thanks for asking this Morgan. I think it is a good question. In general, I think it is going to be harder on your partner and you than the child. Kids are wonderfully resilient (to a degree) in a situation like this as along as the continuity of their life stays somewhat normal and routine (ie, sleeping, eating, etc) I have 3 young children (youngest 14 months) and do not see retreats in my future for a while. But it would be good to hear from some more experienced folks how they walked (walking) the path with children.
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PP, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 9:15 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 9:15 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 376 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for your help Simon!
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Blackcat Run, modified 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 10:29 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/4/13 10:29 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/10/13 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
East P:
My son is nine month old, and I am going on a retreat later this month.
However I have never thought about its possible effect on my son, and now I am feeling a little guilty about that.
I will see how it goes, and maybe follow up on this thread later.

For how long is the retreat?


It's going to be a ten day.
First time since my son (first child) was born, and I am getting a little nervous.
However, we have a family helping us right now, so I decided to make use of the opportunity.
Who knows another chance may not come in several years.
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 10:36 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 10:36 AM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Another idea would be to go to a retreat center that is more family oriented.

While on retreat at Deer Park Monastery in California for several weeks I got to know a German couple with a young baby who seemed to get a good deal out of being there. Of course there may not be many centers that would cater to this but at that particular center (and others in the Plum Village Tradition) such a stay was quite feasible and fairly common.
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tom moylan, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 3:01 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 3:01 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
When I was in that age my parents were away from me 11 days and I was told that I didn't recognize my father when they returned.


I know people whose mother married when they were 5 years old and the child never knew the husband was not their father until they were told many years later.

Don't worry about it. Good luck on your SE retreat. I'm going offline in a few days for a two week self-retreat. Wish me luck.

tom
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Jeff Grove, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 5:41 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:27 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Morgan Gunnarsson:
My plan is to go on retreat in August for a stream entry attempt. My child will be one year and four months then, and I'm afraid that her attachment (in the "attachment theory" sense) to me will be effected negatively. When I was in that age my parents were away from me 11 days and I was told that I didn't recognize my father when they returned. For how long can I be away? Any parent here with experience with this dilemma who can make a reasonable estimate? One week? 10 days? Two weeks?


Are your sure the attachment is not with you.

I'm a father of six and had the oportunity of going on a 2 year research expedition to Antractica when my children were 2mths, 2 yrs, 4yrs, 6yrs, 8yrs, and 10yrs. Luckily I had a tremendous wife that reinforced and kept my memory alive with the children.

The children loved me all the same when I came back and were well balanced in life.

An terrible spin on the story was that my wife was killed in a car accident 6 months after my return and now its me keeping the memory alive with the kids (maybe thats karma).

If you can bare being away from the kids and they are safe, let go of the fear and go for it

cheers
Jeff

added - I have been on many 1 mth retreats throughout my kids life as well as travel with work, they are now 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26, thanks to my parents and a buddhist nun who lived next door and both use to help looking after them while I was away.

Its also possible to do home retreats and balance being both father/mother and work, have a home life and achieve path, its up to you and your intent/drive to get it done. The only obstacle to this is you
mind less, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:55 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:55 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 81 Join Date: 1/6/12 Recent Posts
Jeff Grove:

Are your sure the attachment is not with you.

No, I'm not sure to what extent the attachment is with me.

Jeff Grove:

I'm a father of six and had the oportunity of going on a 2 year research expedition to Antractica when my children were 2mths, 2 yrs, 4yrs, 6yrs, 8yrs, and 10yrs. Luckily I had a tremendous wife that reinforced and kept my memory alive with the children.

The children loved me all the same when I came back and were well balanced in life.

An terrible spin on the story was that my wife was killed in a car accident 6 months after my return and now its me keeping the memory alive with the kids (maybe thats karma).

I'm sorry to hear that. It put things in perspective.

Jeff Grove:

If you can bare being away from the kids and they are safe, let go of the fear and go for it

Thanks for your advice.
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Bailey , modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 9:51 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 9:51 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 267 Join Date: 7/14/11 Recent Posts
m a father of six and had the oportunity of going on a 2 year research expedition to Antractica when my children were 2mths, 2 yrs, 4yrs, 6yrs, 8yrs, and 10yrs. Luckily I had a tremendous wife that reinforced and kept my memory alive with the children.


this is an inspiring story Jeff, made me tear up
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Bailey , modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 9:53 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 9:53 PM

RE: For how long can I be away from my child?

Posts: 267 Join Date: 7/14/11 Recent Posts

I know people whose mother married when they were 5 years old and the child never knew the husband was not their father until they were told many years later.

Don't worry about it. Good luck on your SE retreat. I'm going offline in a few days for a two week self-retreat. Wish me luck.

tom


awesome tom, good dhamma, good luck

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