Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
There's a lot of confusion as to exactly what Attachment Parenting is. Is it natural parenting? Some hippie movement? Helicopter parenting? Parenting influenced by Dr. Seuss?
Perhaps those who are AP spent some time in Seussville along with their reading of Dr. Sears. Yes, the birthday guy, Dr. Seuss, has one single quote which I think sums up the idea of AP easily:
"A person's a person, no matter how small."
That quote, from Horton Hears a Who! could sum up attachment parenting as a whole. The real, true focus is that of respecting children -- even newborns -- as people with valid and complex emotions, who need respect, understanding, and love.
The reason something like "cry-it-out" is not an AP tenet is because we believe that a child who is crying is using their voice -- the only thing a baby has -- to ask for something. I'd be crushed if I asked my husband to cuddle me and he told me I needed to learn to not want him as much. Attachment parents believe that the idea of "warm, dry, and fed" doesn't give enough credit to babies. Besides, it's generally disrespectful to tell a person to be quiet because their basic needs are taken care of. Why do people do it to babies?
This also holds true for feeding. If you are capable of breastfeeding, you will, because it gives the child you've brought into the world the best and because the method of feeding also promotes the necessary closeness that babies deserve and require. But even if you can't breastfeed, babies should still be cuddled, loved, and paid attention to for the duration of the feeding. You should bottle-feed like you're breastfeeding -- in other words, no bottle propping, and cuddle, cuddle, cuddle!
This quote also applies to discipline. The path to teaching children to be loving, empathetic, and respectful adults is to treat them that way, whether they're asking to be cuddled when you want to do dishes, or trying to figure out the source of their behavior so you can help them work through it rather than just punishing the outlet they chose.
While many things like breastfeeding, babywearing, and cosleeping can end up not being ideal for many AP families, the most important thing about it is what Dr. Seuss says: A person is a person, no matter how small.
And every single person deserves respect, love, and caring, even when it's not convenient or scheduled, and things you wouldn't do to the oldest of people shouldn't be done to the youngest either.
What do you think of the Dr. Seuss quote? Does it suit your parenting style?