What is “Attachment Parenting”?
Attachment parenting is not a new trend. Perhaps the only thing new about it is the label Dr. William Sears has given it. This quote from “Dr. Bill” is one of my favorites to use when explaining attachment parenting to friends and family:
“Attachment parenting is one of the oldest ways of caring for babies. In fact, it’s the way that parents for centuries have taken care of babies, until childcare advisors came on the scene and led parents to follow books instead of their babies. Picture your family on a deserted island and you’ve just delivered a baby. There are no books, advisors, or in-laws around to shower you with child baby- tending advice. The baby B’s of attachment parenting would come naturally to you as they have other cultures who have centuries more child-rearing experience and tradition than all of us have.”
Does attachment parenting make children dependent on their parents?
I will admit, the first time I heard “attachment parenting” I was put off by the name. It sounded completely counter-productive. Isn’t the goal to raise people who are well adjusted and independent? Once I looked past the name I began to learn why it works.
In infancy, the closeness created by the baby B’s helps build a strong bond with our baby. This is easy for us all to witness in the first few months of life as we continue to breastfeed, co-sleep and respond to our little one’s cries. But there is also a lot going on that we can’t see. This closeness and responsiveness to their cries also aids in brain development:
“The reason for this is that babies have immature nervous systems and need others to help them regulate their emotions. When adults hear babies crying and respond, babies develop the tools, both physiologically and emotionally, to calm themselves. Leaving babies to cry increases babies’ stress levels and often keeps them awake longer. It does not guide them emotionally or physically toward the goal of regulating their own distress and response.” –Praeclarus Press
Modern parenting has placed a deadline on when our children must achieve independence from us. We’re told they should be sleeping through the night by six month/a year. We should let them cry so they learn how to self-sooth. Stop breastfeeding when they get teeth or tell them “don’t be a cry baby” (the list goes on and on). We are doing our children a disservice by forcing their independence on our schedule. When we respect a child’s unique development and foster an environment that allows them to develop at their pace, the result is stronger and truer independence. When a child can trust in the fact that their caregiver is always available for them, if needed, they gain the security to explore the world around them.
Why attachment parenting?
Here’s what other Attached Parents at Work parents have to say about choosing attachment parenting:
- “It’s the only thing that works with my kids.”
- “It came naturally to me.”
- “It doesn’t go against my instincts.”
- “It’s instinctive. Why go against your gut just because a book says so?
- “It feels right. My son and I thrive with our AP relationship”
- “It’s what came naturally.”
- “Why non attachment parenting?”
- “Why not?!?!”
- “I had my first child at 16. I had no money. So Breastfeeding it was. Well Breastfeeding us easier when the baby is in your bed. And even easier if you hold the baby. And it all started there. I fell into it out of poverty now I continue it because I have wisdom.”
- “Because it feels right in my heart.”
- “Because it feels right! Because I know in my heart that this is the way we are meant to raise our children. Because it works!”
- “It works, feels right and has created such a strong bond. Nothing is more satisfying than a cuddle from Mum being enough to calm and make him happy again. Proves that he knows I’m there for him whenever he needs.”
- “Because if you were all alone in the world, it is what you would do”
- “Even after reading a ridiculous amount of literature while pregnant and having the intention not to co-sleep, baby’s needs and what felt “right” to me took over. AP is what works for us.”
- “It’s natural!”
- “It makes me and my kids happier.”
- “I actually didn’t know it was a way of parenting until after I was doing it so I guess I would say instinct.”
- “I also didn’t intend to, but it feels right and it works so I do it!”
- “Because it just feels right!!”
- “Because I want my child to find comfort in human relationships, not materialism.”
- “Well, because there is no manual available for child rearing, I choose to follow my instincts. AP is my style. Hard bloody work, but I love my son and would not think of doing it any other way.”
- “Comes natural and makes most sense”
- “Because our children deserve it!”
- “I too was already doing it, after trying to raise my first slightly main stream, she helped me see that I really don’t need to conform her any way, they come out knowing how to b and for me following her need was AP so much easier”
- “Because children are people too.”
- “Because AP is not about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, it is about building a strong relationship with your child based on the attachment theory that says that the optimal environment for a child’s development is the continuous presence of loving, not stressed, emotionally present care takers and building a solid attachment to those people. And just like many mamas above, I would do it without knowing anything about AP. When you smile to your kids every day, when you treat them gently, when you respond to their needs all the time, you will love the relationship it will create. I am amazed every day how loving and responsive and trying so hard to cooperate my little boy is at 19 months. I think it is a direct result of AP. As someone above said: why not-AP?”
- “I didn’t really intentionally follow it. It is just very natural and instinctual for us – feels right for us so we go with it. Seems to be working well for all of us”
- “I followed my instincts and then I learned it had a name”
- “It feels right. That’s enough.”
You can learn more about attachment parenting by visiting Ask Dr. Sears or by picking up The Attachment Parenting Book. Attached Parents at Work is not affiliated with Ask Dr. Sears or The Attachment Parenting Book.