All you need to know about attachment parenting.
What is attachment parenting?
There are parenting models that favor treating children as adults and there are models that encourage to practice strict discipline.
With this much advices on different styles of parenting, how do you know which method works best? And the most important question is, how do you know which one is suitable for your family?
The only way to answer this question is – make it trial. But make a fluent research first.
At the root of attachment parenting lies attachment theory. Attachment theory stems from psychologist John Bowlby‘s studies of maternal deprivation and animal behavior research in the early 1950s.
Attachment theory says: an infant instinctively seeks closeness to a secure “attachment figure.” This closeness appears to be vital for the infant to feel safe. Sometimes even more important than food, or at leaf equally important. Early animal studies found that baby primates preferred a warm, terry-cloth “mother” doll over a wire doll that dispensed food but wasn’t warm and cozy.
Attachment Parenting International (API) identifies eight principles of attachment parenting.
- Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Proponents of attachment parenting believe it is important to eliminate negative thoughts and feelings about pregnancy. Doing so, they say, readies a parent for the emotionally demanding work of being a parent.
- Feed with love and respect. Breastfeeding, proponents say, is the ideal way to create a secure attachment. It also teaches infants that parents will listen to their cues and fulfill their needs.
- Respond with sensitivity. With attachment parenting, parents consider all expressions of emotions, including repeated tantrums, as real efforts at communication. Those efforts are to be taken seriously and understood rather than punished or dismissed.
- Use nurturing touch. Attachment parenting proponents advise maximum skin-to-skin touching. Ways to achieve that include joint baths and “baby-wearing” — carrying babies during the day in a front-facing sling.
- Engage in nighttime parenting. Attachment parenting experts advise making “co-sleeping” arrangements. With co-sleeping, an infant sleeps in the same room with parents so they can feed and emotionally soothe the child during the night. Some parents practice “bed-sharing” or sleeping in the same bed with babies. But be aware that currently the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against this as it may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
- Provide constant, loving care. Proponents of attachment parenting advise the nearly constant presence of a parent. That includes during walks, parents’ night out, and work. They advocate against childcare for more than 20 hours a week for babies younger than 30 months old.
- Practice positive discipline. Parents are advised to distract, redirect, and guide even the youngest of babies, and to model positive behavior. Attachment parenting aims at understanding what a child’s negative behavior is communicating. And parents are encouraged to work out a solution together with a child, rather than spanking or simply imposing their will on children.
- Strive for balance in personal and family life. Parents are encouraged to create a support network, live a healthy lifestyle, and prevent parenting burn-out.