Updated on August 4, 2020
What is Attachment Parenting?
We are talking here about the jargon, the language used by professionals who study behavior. Attachment parenting is the bond which can develop between babies and their parents. It’s an emotional bond which children and their parents form with one another. So important is this so-called bond that it influences the lives of people many years down the track.
Pediatrician William Sears is said to have first coined the expression of attachment parenting. Sears is an American born in 1940 and his own life was not what might be called conventional. His father deserted his family and the major male role model in the life of a young William Sears was that of his grandfather. Sears and his wife who is also medical doctor have 8 children with several being doctors.
The attachment parenting theory states that it requires a deep emotional link between parents and child and this link is sometimes known as a secure attachment. Furthermore, the theory states that a strong attachment in childhood will foster good relationships in later life whereas a poor attachment in childhood does not augur well for future relationships.
The medical world does not have an agreed position on some of these terms. For instance the way some adopted children are treated refers to a technique known as attachment therapy and proponents of this method of treating children are not universally supported.
In promoting his theory of attachment parenting, Dr Sears urges new parents to adopt a number of principles or methods of behavior. These principles are as follows.
1. Be sensitive
2. Prepare well for being pregnant, giving birth and being a parent
3. Feed with love and respect
4. Provide consistent loving care
5. Use a nurturing touch
6. Put in place a positive style of discipline
7. Allow for plenty of restful and safe sleep
8. Aim to live a balanced life between personal and family activities
Now there are many aspects of childbirth and child rearing such as natural childbirth, at home or in a hospital, breast feeding, co-sleeping, home schooling, going to regular school, conventional diet, organic foods, etc. Dr. Sears takes no position on most of these things leaving it to individual parents to choose what they believe is best for their child.
A carer of a child may not always be the parent but attachment parenting principles apply no matter who is responsible.
With infants, the attachment parenting principles are quite clear. In order for a baby and then a child to develop trust they must receive the best in care and consideration. By receiving consistent and appropriate care, an infant grows to develop healthy and beneficial relationships. A parent can stimulate and help develop feelings of empathy within their child and thus prepare then for a healthy and happy life.
The theory is basic. In order for a child to love and respect an adult and others in their life, they, the infant and child, must be treated by the carer with the utmost care and respect. Daily and constant interaction with the infant, sometimes known as quality time, is of vital importance. This is what makes attachment parenting produce worthwhile characteristics in the child.
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