What attachment parenting is NOT

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As an attachment parenting mama and also as a Attachment Parenting International Leader (since 2007) I hear a lot of misconceptions about what exactly is attachment parenting. Before I get to that though, I wanted to start by covering what it is not.

  1. Attachment parenting is NOT permissive parenting. Being an attachment parenting mama does not mean that your kids can do whatever they want. Children are children and they don’t always do nor behave how we would like them to (I’ll be the first to say that loud and clear) but in attachment parenting there are boundaries and guidance.
  2. Attachment parenting is NOT being a martyr. I hear often mamas saying that even though it’s miserable for them they are going to be attachment parenting mamas because they think it’s best for baby. One aspect of attachment parenting is balance. There are realistic expectations in mothering – any parenting style. And attachment parenting has these as well but also it has balance.
  3. Finally, Attachment parenting is NOT a checklist. I don’t start out explaining that I practice attachment parenting by listing a list of what I do. It’s so much more than a list. In fact, it’s not even remotely about a list. And often times the principles of attachment parenting are confused with a checklist of what you must do to be an attachment parent.

So what is attachment parenting?

Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that forms a secure bond between parent and child by responding to your child’s emotional and physical needs.

Interested in learning more? Here’s a link for more information.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa de Jong March 28, 2014 at 12:34 am

I appreciate the tone of this posting. In exploring and trying to understand different parenting types it is important to understand common misconceptions. I’m the mother of a 2 year old and previously worked as a social worker specializing in infant and early childhood mental health. I have often times found myself concerned with the way mothers have internalized the “musts” of attachment parenting. I think you articulated well what it is not, which also tend to be the most common traps. So often discussions about parenting are full of judgment’s and must do’s. I appreciate the way you have shared your wisdom in such a compassionate way.

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beth newell April 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I really enjoyed this post. I’ve never thought I had to be a certain kind of parennt. I apply many if the principals of attachment parenting and free range parenting (which also has a lot of misconceptions) , and I’d get annoyed by mom’s who wanted to advise me of what I was leaving off the checklist so to speak. I like your outlook much better though, its more open to personal interpretation and differences in children. And as y oldest child is about to turn 18, and my newest about to be born this was most refreshing to read.

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Dee May 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I’m struggling to find an attachment parenting friendly pediatrician near me in Orange County (I live about 5 minutes from the Granola Babies store). Just had our current pediatrician scold me for nursing my 8 month old back to sleep in the middle of the night and/or rocking him back to sleep when he wakes earlier in the night (she said he would wind up needing to be rocked to sleep at 15 years old if I kept it up and said there were studies to prove it… it was a very frustrating visit.) Any advice for where I might find a good listing of pro attachment parenting pediatricians?

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Jess Weagle May 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I grew up in an attachment parenting house. My parents did a 180 when they had my brother. Growing up it was odd seeing my brother being raised and taken care of in a very different way then my sister and I were raised.

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Mary August 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Every caring parent wants to give their children a secure environment. My DIL, a psych and women’s studies major, gave birth to my first grandchild 13 years ago. A week after he was born, her husband (my son) was relegated to sleeping on the couch. Two babies later (all 3 breastfeeding) and a dog and a couple of cats, all had precedent over Daddy who was only appreciated for affording the ‘family’ a lovely fantasy. Mother was playing house, Daddy worked and worked and worked… Needless to say, the ‘marriage’ fell apart shortly thereafter. Now, I wonder how ‘secure’ the little munchkins are? Maybe it’s just my age, but I think sometimes traditions are rooted in reason.

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