“ Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy founded on attachment theory. Have you followed this philosophy within your family? How did the experience shape up? Share your parenting stories and suggestion with fellow dooyoo families... „
I decided to write this after watching a television programme recently about "attachment parenting". Now i have always considered myself an attached parent, but not in the way the programme presented attached parents. I suppose you have extremes in everything, and every parent will view things differently but this is my view of attachment parenting.
I am really hoping a few others will write reviews on attachment parenting as well, and what it means to them.
Some background information:
Dr Sears first came up with the new term attchment parenting to describe a very very old method of parenting. In fact his first book reffered to it the contiuum concept method of parenting, and was heavily influenced by the work of cultural anthropoligists such as Jean Liedhoff and Meredith Small. Of course he was also very influenced by Bowlby, and most likely that is the source of the name. I suppose attachment parenting is much easier to say, but has the unfortunate side effect of adding fuel to the fire in "the Mommy wars", by making some mothers using other methods feel that it implies they are less attached. I dont think that was the intention, only that he was suggesting people return to an older form parenting based very much on nurturing attachment between parents and children, rather than trying to force independence too soon.
Dr Sears basics of attachment parenting are as follows:
1. Birth Bonding: Being with the baby as much as possible immediatly
after the birth, rooming in, father present and so on.
2. Breast feeding if possible, if not contact feeding.
4. Bedding close to baby, whether co sleeping or just having baby's cot
next to the adults.
5. Belief in the language value of your baby's cry - and response to it.
6.Beware of baby trainers
7. Balance - this is not saying child centred as many people interpret it, but family centred.
These are not new ideas. I mentioned Jean Liedloff earlier, she lived for two years among a native tribe in South America. They certainly followed all of these principles as most people have all over the world until the advent of baby experts and commercial companies trying to sell all the must have gadgets for modern parenting. Mothers didnt need some expert to tell them how to care for a child but instead relied on the experience of women and natural instinct. John Bowlby stated that a Mother guided by love would never go too far wrong and to ignore those who tell her to go against her instincts. Dr Sears also says never to follow any expert against your own natural instincts. Intrestingly, the first of the baby trainers, or child care experts was Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber in Germany. His son became one of Freuds most famous patients. Two other children of his suffered mental illness, one ending it through suicide, and yet his guide became the manual of child rearing which influences others even today.
Attachment Parenting to me, is only doing what women have done for generations. Carrying my children, responding to their cries, and giving them a stable and secure base from which to explore the world. My great grandmother practiced attachment parenting when she trailed my grandfather about in a box as she did her chores so he would always be close. My grandmother practiced it as she insisted that babies be comforted whenever they cried. Women all over the world breastfeed, carry their babies and sleep beside them. I think the best book on attachment parenting I have ever read was written by and about a woman who raised and home educated her children in rural Ireland just after ww2. I have reviewed it earlier, it is called "Anything School Can Do You Can Do Better" but is really an account of a simpler way of life. That is all AP is to me. In my own experience it has worked very well.
My babies very rarely cried, slept well, ate well and are happy well behaved boys. I do think my oldest is so good with the younger child simply because he received so much care himself. he just always assumes Mommies take care of babies. the only downside was when younger he approached women we did not know and informed them their baby was crying and mommies were meant to take care of their babies in a very angry tone of voice.
But back to the tv show, I thought I would address some common myths the show perpetuated.
Attachment parents are against all medical interventions in birth. Ridiculous - would it have been a great sign of attachment to let my son die rather than have a c section? Many prefer to limit uneccesary intervention - I think few would object to life saving procedures.
Attachment parents do not discipline children - absolutely not true. most do not spank, but the parent begging and pleading with the child on the show was not an example of what Dr Sears suggests, or people like myself would follow.
Attachment parents are all old hippies in sandals and bell bottoms - nope not true.
Attachment parents all breastfeed - nope, most try but there are no set rules to attachment parenting, it is just goig with your heart.
Attachment parents breastfeed until the children are school age - very very very few.
I could list myths forever, but attachment parents are a wide variety of people with varied beliefs just like any other large grouping. We may be a bit different from mainstream, but not as different as they would have you think. In fact many of you may be attached parents without even knowing it!