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I have often wondered what attachment parenting kids turn out like. I mean it is all very well saying this is what we should do – be loving, emotionally-available, responsive parents – but does it work?
I tend to forget, of course, that I myself was, effectively, ‘attachment parented’ even though my parents had never heard such a term. I slept in my parents’ room on adjoining futons until I was 5 and a half. I was breastfed until I was three (not two as I thought and said in an earlier post). I was ‘worn’ in a sling and then a carrier by both my mum and my dad. And overall the kind of parenting I received was responsive, respectful of my needs as a full human being (from birth) and compassionate. So, I guess I should know… but how I turned out is hardly representative in itself. So, what is the norm?
I have met a few older kids that have been brought up this way and the ones I met are super-articulate, intelligent, engaged and empathic. Then again it is good to remember that many of those attracted to attachment parenting as a philosophy are highly-educated, middle-class, relatively well off grown-ups. So how much of the outcome is down to just that – having smart parents, going to good schools, etc.
I went to the ‘guru’, Dr. Sears. He says based on his experience (i.e. empirically… for lack of a proper study). Attachment parented kids are:
3- Connected (capable of deep relationships)
4- Careful (less likely to take physical risks because they are well aware of their own capabilities and limitations)
That is nice to hear. It is certainly borne out from the few kids I have met that are ‘attached’ (ie strongly bonded) to their parents from birth. Dr Sears does warn about the dangers of going too far and becoming smothering, overly permissive or indulgent, not to mention just obsessed with their kids with their own lives revolving around that of their children. Yes, there are pitfalls… but then no parenting style is free of challenges and potential flash points.
I know I am really into this topic at the moment, so bear with me. I am processing it, somehow. Situating myself in relation to the philosophy I seem to have chosen. My heart led the way.
Let me quote this same online article:
“Besides these “C’s” for children, there is an important “C” for parents. The attachment parents developed confidence sooner. They used the basic tools of attachment parenting, but felt confident and free enough to branch out into their own style until they found what worked for them, their baby, and their lifestyle. (…) These parents used themselves and their baby as the barometer of their parenting style, not the norms of the neighborhood.” [emphasis mine]
I am not trying to ‘convert’ anybody to attachment parenting. I wouldn’t even presume that I could if I tried. I find people are drawn to that with which they resonate. I was already into what I thought of as natural parenting before I found out it was called ‘attachment parenting’ and when I read about it, it was just spelling out what I already felt. I am guessing all you mamas out there find the same: something feels right so you do that… but just in case somebody isn’t resonating with the options being presented to them, then finding out about this alternative might be just the echo your voice was seeking as a whole or part answer to a question in your soul.
Or it might just be about me finding out how to do things for me, for Anya, for our family. That is okay, too.