Parenting Style: Attachment Parenting | Parents

Attachment parents are nurturing and available to meet their children’s needs day and night.


I’m Dr. Ari Brown, and today I’m going to explain attachment parenting and separate fact from fiction. The Attachment Parenting movement that began in the 1990s latched on to a theory from the 1950s based on forming secure parent-child bonds. Psychologists, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, did the original Attachment Theory research, noting that young children, who develop secure attachments to a nurturing adult have more trust, confidence, and healthy relationships. That seems obvious, right? Well, at that time, this was landmark research when other experts were warning parents that showing too much love and affection would make children weak or clingy. Today, parents who practice attachment parenting believe that always being available to their children both physically and emotionally will help their children become more confident and secure. The organization, Attachment Parenting International, has 8 core principles: Minimize interventions in pregnancy and childbirth to encourage bonding with your baby. Breastfeed responsibly and wean gently. If that is not possible, practice attentive bottle feeding. Respond with sensitivity to a child’s needs and discourage sleep training that involves crying. Respond to a child’s needs both day and night. Practice positive discipline by problem solving and being a good role model. Physical punishment and punitive timeout is discouraged. Encourage human touch. That might mean wearing your baby in a carrier, holding hands with your child and giving lots of hugs. Encourage parents to be the primary caregiver. If parents both work outside the home, aim to have one consistent caregiver. Finally, encourage life balance so parents can be good role models for their children. How you interpret these principles is up to you. Attachment Parenting International has no official position on natural childbirth, home births, home schooling, or opposition to circumcision or vaccinations. Some attachment parents prefer a family bed. Because infant bed sharing increases the risks of sudden infant death and sudden unexplained infant death, this has been controversial. However, leaders of the attachment parenting movement specifically advised parents that the priority is not where your child sleeps but to be responsive to your child at night. Others criticize that the 24/7 nature of attachment parenting can take a toll on the marital relationship. It’s important to realize that happy parents make happy children. Attachment parents view the parent-child relationship as a very special one, and no one can argue with that.

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