There are many benefits to attachment parenting but before discussing those it may be important to understand what attachment parenting is not. While this form of parenting has gained more media attention in the past several years it is not a new style of parenting. In fact it is one of the oldest ways of caring for babies and one often practiced in non-industrialized countries. Until child care advisers began writing books and lead parents to follow their information instead of their babies, this was the way that parents for centuries had taken care of their children.
Attachment parenting is also not indulgent parenting. This is not the way to raise a spoiled child but in fact being nurturing and responsive will do quite the opposite. Some detractors believe that being responsive to a babies needs will set up the parent for being manipulated by the baby but instead attachment parenting is responding appropriately to the babies needs which means knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.
Attachment parenting is really a question of balance. As a child grows the parent and child grow to gather to develop the right balance between tension without indulgence. In fact, smothering is actually unfair to the child and fosters an inappropriate dependency which impairs the child from exhibiting normal independence.
The goal behind attachment parenting is to become an expert at reading the individual so that you can gradually delay your response. For instance, mom may be in the kitchen while her seven-month-old is playing nearby. When the baby starts to cry mom can differentiate between the babies desire to be picked up and a cry that means she’s hurt or hungry. Because you and the baby are connected the baby can also read mom’s body language and understand that she isn’t anxious.
Attachment parenting is also not permissive parenting and it isn’t mom becoming a martyr. Interestingly, the more that parents are able to give to the baby the more the baby is able to give back. Attachment parenting enables parents to enjoy their infants and actually helps to release the hormone prolactin in mom which further enhances her mothering behavior.
One of the distinct advantages to using attachment parenting is that it is a starter’s style of parenting and not a strict set of rules which may increase a parents feelings of failure when these rules are broken. Attachment parenting first implies that you have open your mind and your heart to the individual needs of the baby and that eventually you develop the wisdom on how to make decisions about what works best for both you and your child.
Doing the best that a parent can do with the resources they have is all that a child will ever expect of their parent. Attachment parenting is a way of starting to parent their infants while they develop their own parenting style that fits the individual needs of the child and the family. It is actually a style that many parents use instinctively.
The real point behind attachment parenting is to get connected with the baby and once connected, stick with what is working and modify what is not. By becoming sensitive to the cues of an infant you learn to read the babies level of need. By staying connected you’ll learn to understand the unspoken needs and desires of toddlers, preschoolers and school agers. Because the baby trusts that his needs will be met they also trust their ability to give cues. As a result the baby becomes a better cue giver and the parent becomes a better cue reader.
Attachment parenting is actually a tool that parents used to complete their job. The better the tool, the better the job. Because these are tools parents are able to pick and choose which of those fit their personal relationship with each individual child and between each individual parents. The better that families know their child the more the child will trust the parents and the more effective the discipline will be. Parents often find that it is easier to discipline a child with whom they are well bonded then with a child who doesn’t really care what their parents think.
While there may be detractors who would rather parents learn about parenting from a book, rather than learn about their individual children, attachment parenting has thankfully continued to grow in the past decade. This may be because as these children grow into school age and young adolescents parents and researchers are seeing significant positive long-term effects from the bonding process that begins in early infancy.