What Can We Learn from Attachment Parenting
Attachment Parenting has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially after the Times article "Are You Mom Enough" in which a mom was photographed breastfeeding her then three-year-old son on the magazine cover. But what is Attachment Parenting and what can we learn from it? Attachment parenting is based on the theory that a child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences and that sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well-being.
The popular parenting method, promoted by renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears, focuses on keeping babies physically close at all times. Attachment parenting plays out in practices such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping (or sharing a room) and baby-wearing. Despite your opinions on breastfeeding a 3 year old on a magazine cover, there is a lot to be learned from attachment parenting.
All parents are new parents at some point. Becoming a parent is a life-changing event, full of emotional ups and downs. During this time, parents have so many decisions to make with potentially life-long consequences. It is beneficial to be open to new ideas and listen to the sage advice of other parents who have gone before. Learn from the generations of parents, their mistakes and their pearls of wisdom. Be open to new ways of thinking. Attachment parenting teaches you how to be discerning of advice, especially rigid and extreme parenting styles that teach you to watch a clock or a schedule instead of your baby. Take it all in and decide for yourself what approach works for you and for your family.
Your Thoughts on Attachment Parenting
As a parent, which aspects of attachment parenting did you practice?
Most new parents want healthy children who know they are loved. The ways to reach this are as numerous as sands on the beach. Each parent brings their own values and beliefs to the table. Parents, and caregivers, should recognize that each parent has their child's best interest at heart. If attachment parenting isn't or you, it can still teach you about respecting the parenting philosophies of others. This world takes all kinds of people. That valued diversity can only come from diverse backgrounds, including parenting style.
Attachment Parenting is about responsive parenting. By becoming sensitive to the cues of your infant, you learn to read your baby's level of need. This sensitivity will ultimately lead to you better understanding your baby's cues, allowing you the flexibility to respond differently as the situation calls for. This flexibility will serve you well in both parenting and in life. Life is not rigid, it's flexible and ever-changing. Having the flexibility to respond to challenges, rather than having a prescribed set of rules, is something all of us could benefit from.
Find Your Own Parenting Style
Attachment parenting is more of an approach and not a strict set of rules. The most important aspect of AP is getting connected to your baby. Once you are connected, you can stick with what is working and modify what is not, focusing on finding the balance that works for you and our family. This balance will lead you to your own personal parenting style. Do the best you can with the resources you have.
Do The Best You Can
I hope by looking at attachment parenting as a tool rather than a set of rules has helped you understand a little more about the philosophy. There are things that all parents can learn from this approach, regardless of how it plays out in one's own parenting style. Remember, we are all doing the best we can with the resources available to us.