Attachment Parenting is one way of raising kids that could just be the answer to your parenting goals.
Most of the time parents aren’t even aware that what they are doing in fact has a name – Attachment Parenting is all about trusting your instincts.
“The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.” (AttachmentParenting.org).
According to Wikipedia “Attachment Parenting is a phrase coined by paediatrician William Sears.” This is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology.”
The concept of Attachment Parenting is based on the strong emotional bond that a child develops with his caregiver, and this attachment has lifelong consequences. This attachment can either be secure or insecure – depending on how you go about raising your child.
“Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and wellbeing.”
Sear identifies a number of principles of positive attachment:
1. Sensitive response
“Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune into what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately,” suggests AttachmentParenting.org. They are of meaning that it is not advisable that babies self-soothe. They need parents who can calm them, give them love and empathy. This will teach them to regulate their emotions. “Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.”
“Attachment parenting is about respecting the needs of your child,” according to BellyBelly.com. Others might be of meaning that you are spoiling your child or that your baby is manipulating you. “Attachment Parenting is the understanding that a baby cannot manipulate.” Caregivers who practise Attachment parenting responds immediately to their baby’s cries, as crying is seen as a means of communication for babies.
“Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent,” states AttachmentParenting.org. If you are not able to look after baby yourself 24/7, find a caregiver that will respect and adopt the same principles of Attachment parenting. Consistency is key.
4. Touch and babywearing
High touch is one of the key aspects of Attachment Parenting. “Touch meets a baby’s needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement,” according to AttachmentParenting.org. One of the many ways to encourage high touch is through babywearing. Instead of using prams, which puts considerable distance between you and your baby, you can use slings or carriers. This will enable you to respond quicker to your baby’s needs.
For babies, skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, like with Kangaroo care, breastfeeding or bathing – find opportunities for touching in everyday tasks.
5. Sleeping arrangements
Just as your baby’s physical needs do not vanish at night, so his emotional needs also do not disappear. Your baby can still feel loneliness and fear. These little bodies need soothing during the night too. Many parents practising Attachment Parenting prefers that their baby sleeps in the same room in a side sleeper, rather than in a separate room. Co-sleeping is also made use of, although this is a very controversial topic.
6. Communication and discipline
Communication is key in discipline. Rather than taking an aggressive, angry approach, remove yourself from the situation, cool down, and try to get behind the reason for the bad behaviour. “Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child.” According to AttachmentParenting.org.