Monday, April 28, 2014

I'll break it down for you.

Attachment Parenting. Gasp! This is one simple concept that, in my opinion, has been blown way out of proportion. Over the past year it's been made apparent to me that when I utter the word "attachment parenting' it comes out as a whisper, a mumble or a rushed acronym. Often I avoid eye contact, because for some reason, using the term 'attachment parenting' can be considered controversial or even confrontational. It's ridiculous, and I'll tell you why: attachment parenting is nothing to be afraid of. It's kind and it's gentle, by nature. So, I'm holding my head up high, I'm making eye contact and I'm announcing it - I believe in attachment parenting.

What is attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting is the basic belief that the relationship between child and parent is the most important facet of parenting (of life!). According to Attachment Parenting International, there are 8 principals that provide the foundation for attachment parenting:

1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
2. Feed with love and respect
3. Respond with sensitivity
4. Use nurturing touch
5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
6. Provide consistent and loving care
7. Practice positive discipline
8. Strive for balance in your personal and family life.

Sounds terrifying, doesn't it? I joke, but AP has developed quite a stigma. Due to the misconceptions surrounding AP, many people have written it off, or are only aware of highly publicized AP parents and their personal parenting choices.

These 8 principals are far from groundbreaking. They may even come off as no-brainers, something all parents do without a second thought. Unfortunately, many of these principals are challenged by mainstream parenting beliefs that run the risk of stifling or damaging the connection between parent and child. Most of this is intuition, precious intuition that's been lost. AP parents use baby wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping to address many of the principals and to develop a strong bond in the early days of baby's life. As their child grows, AP parents strengthen their relationship through positive discipline practices. I could go further into detail, but I won't!

The funny thing about attachment parenting is that it is nothing new. Past civilizations and present cultures have been practicing AP for thousands of years. AP is rooted in legitimate research and historical truths as well as biological and evolutionary data. In other words, it's the way child-rearing used to be...the way it should be. I look at some of the front page concerns for modern day youth and I can't help but wonder if attachment parenting could save the world. Crazy? Maybe, but one can dream.

As a counselor, I've always been fascinated by the study of attachment. As a parent, I have been forever changed by the power of attachment. If any of this information struck a chord with you, let me know!

Interested? Here are a few more links:

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