Minnie - posted on 07/28/2011 ( 52 moms have responded )
I find that in many debates people often have misconceptions of what attachment parenting is. We frequently debate individual parenting practices that are usually associated with attachment parenting but how about debating attachment parenting itself as a parenting philosophy?
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.
The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.
The mission of Attachment Parenting International (API) is to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. API believes that Attachment Parenting (AP) practices fulfill a child's need for trust, empathy, and affection and will provide a foundation for a lifetime of healthy relationships.
Rooted in attachment theory, Attachment Parenting has been studied extensively for over 60 years by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. These studies revealed that infants are born "hardwired" with strong needs to be nurtured and to remain physically close to the primary caregiver, usually the mother, during the first few years of life. The child's emotional, physical, and neurological development is greatly enhanced when these basic needs are met consistently and appropriately. These needs can be summarized as proximity, protection, and predictability..
The baby's crying, clinging, and sucking are early techniques to keep her mother nearby. As the child grows and feels more secure in her relationship with her mother, she is better able to explore the world around her and to develop strong, healthy bonds with other important people in her life.
Attachment Parenting International's Eight Principles of Parenting:
-Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
-Feed with Love and Respect
-Respond with Sensitivity
-Use Nurturing Touch
-Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
-Provide Consistent and Loving Care
-Practice Positive Discipline
-Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life
As you can see, these principles can be pretty widely defined. In these debates it often happens that AP parents are assumed to be those who only bedshare until the later years, breastfeed for many years, only have home births, etc. But the overwhelming philosophy of attachment parenting is showing respect for a child's body, mind and accepting his or her capabilities and showing compassion and empathy for fellow human beings.