Attachment parenting is a pedagogical concept that is love-oriented and encourages intense physical contact between the child and the mother. It is a parenting style that relies on maternal empathy, touch, and bodily closeness, with the objective of achieving greater infant-mother bonding.
According to a doctoral work, attachment parenting refers to “a suite of practices that involve keeping an infant in close proximity to his or her caregiver through babywearing, on-demand and/or extended breastfeeding, child-led weaning, and co-sleeping with a caregiver or caregivers for a number of years.”
Studies suggest that this kind of parenting is highly beneficial to the growth of the child. The nurturing connection between parent and child produces secure, highly independent, and compassionate individuals. William Sears is a strong supporter of attachment parenting and is one of its best-known ambassadors. This section will discuss the various principles and effects of attachment parenting.
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Principles of Attachment Parenting
Attachment parenting has eight principles. Parents may apply them differently, depending on their contextual situations.
- The first principle is to adequately prepare mothers for motherhood. More composure and less worry are vital to successful parenting.
- The second principle involves breastfeeding. The mother is encouraged to feed her baby with respect and love.
- In the third principle, the caregiver sees temper tantrums as a form of communication. Therefore, the caregiver responds with sensitivity and tries to understand what the child is trying to communicate through the tantrums.
- The fourth principle is skin-to-skin touch, particularly when bathing the infant.
- The fifth principle is to use nighttime as a time of bonding when rocking the baby to sleep. Parents should also invest in bay carriers that promote closeness.
- The sixth principle is to provide consistent, loving care and to always be there for the child.
- The seventh principle involves discipline. Parents are expected to guide their child’s behavior and other spheres of development. They should work out solutions with their child rather than resort to spanking and other forms of harsh discipline.
- The eighth principle is to strive to strike a balance between personal and familial life so that everyone is able to do justice to both.
The Pros and Cons of Attachment Parenting
Attachment parenting has a number of benefits that includes mutual giving. Giving is embedded in peaceful parenting and is beneficial to both the mother and the baby. It also has the potential of shaping the child into a reliable and compassionate adult. Attachment parenting also enhances sensitivity between the infant and the caregiver since attachment relationships tend to offer a platform for better understanding.
Studies have also confirmed that attachment parenting improves a child’s behavior because the child feels secure when his or her needs are sensitively and precisely met. Scientific research also suggests that babies raised with attachment parenting generally tend to be smarter than their counterparts.
However, there are a few drawbacks to this parenting style. The transitioning process is often challenging because the children are used to their parents being around them all the time. This sometimes causes feelings of insecurity and fear when they start schooling or similar activities. Studies also show that children raised by attachment parenting tend to be more rebellious and sometimes uncooperative. Experts advise parents to strike a balance and to set appropriate limits to prepare children for the transition from childhood to adulthood.
- Kim, YaeBin. Parenting Needs for Parents of Young Children in Southern Nevada. Nevada Cooperative Extension, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/cy/2012/sp1210.pdf
- Pitcher, Alexandra T. “The Impact of Culture on the Practice of Attachment Parenting among Women Who Meet in Online Communities.” PhD diss., 2016. Retrieved from https://uh-ir.tdl.org/uh-ir/handle/10657/1517