Attachment parenting encourages parents secure bonding with the child during the early years by sensitive response to the childs needs. Here are the benefits of attachment parenting and the practices involved in attachment parenting.
Last Updated: 23 October 2020
Though attachment parenting is one of the trending parenting styles today, it has been an instinctive approach to raise children in human history. It was first conceptualized by psychologist, John Bowlby, in 1950 and later was studied and emphasized widely by proponents like Dr. William Sears.
What is attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting believes in showing respect and compassion at all times while dealing with babies, toddlers and older children. It stands for nurturing children with love and care instead of expecting them to think and behave like adults. It strictly advocates parents not to resign to impatience, anger, yelling or spanking children for their behavior, and instead demonstrate right behavior by being a good role model themselves.
What are the principles of attachment parenting?
It is important to understand that attachment parenting is more about parents’ mindset and not about following rigid practices. While there are no hard and fast rules that are to be followed, parents can take cues from the principles of attachment parenting to imbibe in their everyday parenting style.
Attachment Parenting International (API) is a global, non-profit organization which promotes awareness and education about healthy parenting practices. API has laid out eight principles of attachment parenting on their official website as follows:
1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
A planned pregnancy can potentially bring in positive s in parents than an unexpected pregnancy. Before you plan to become pregnant, take medical consultation from a healthcare provider and become aware of the stages of pregnancy, birthing options, newborn care and baby development.
2. Feed with love and respect
Breastfeeding is nature’s way to nurture a newborn with love and security. If you are choosing formula feed for your baby, adapt the physical and emotional warmth of nursing while bottle feeding. Be aware and sensitive of the baby’s calling for food instead of fixing a rigid feeding schedule. Observe when your baby feels full to stop feeding instead of force feeding the prescribed quantity of formula milk or sticking to a specific time limit while breastfeeding.
3. Respond with sensitivity
Babies and small children may not be able to communicate exactly what they feel and what they want. In the early years, they need supportive parents who are open and willing to tune with them emotionally to understand their needs. It can be frustrating at times for a parent when they are unable to guess why the baby is crying or when a toddler is throwing an emotional tantrum for no apparent reason. Yet, responding calmly and soothing the baby or child with gentle understanding is at the heart of attachment parenting.
4. Use nurturing touch
Newborns feel secure when held closely by the primary caretaker such as moms. Include many touch-based activities with your baby in your daily schedule like massaging, fun baths and cuddling. Breastfeeding and baby wearing meets the touch needs of the baby as are frequent hugs, cuddling and physical playtime in older children.
5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
Sleep time is as important for bonding as during the daytime routine. While some babies can fall asleep on their own, some babies and even toddlers need a comforting parent by their side to sleep. Attachment parenting encourages co-sleeping with children or in the same room with newborns to make their bedtime feel safe and strong.
6. Provide consistent and loving care
With the myriads of life stressors, we might sometimes miss out the priorities we have reserved for our children. Attachment parenting emphasizes on providing consistent care to children and constant involvement in their everyday life.
7. Practice positive discipline
Teaching discipline is one of the top commitments of a parent towards a child’s life. While parents are responsible to impart right behavior and discipline to their children, it is important not to chide children for their behavior. Instead of making the child feel guilty by pinpointing the mistakes and giving punishment, attachment parenting guides the child to realize the effect of her action with love and respect and at the same time strengthening the bond with the two.
8. Strive for balance in your personal and family life
Most often, when a parent feels impatient about a child’s behavior, it is because of the parent’s temperament at the particular moment. Being pre-occupied and bound to many commitments can make the parent short of the required time and temperament to emotionally align with the child’s needs and demands. Form support systems which help you get regular unwinding time. Be conscious of the things and activities which steal your attention from children to avoid them before it gets too much into your life.
What are the benefits of attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting helps to raise children who are emotionally strong and naturally empathetic. These children will be able to offer support to others as they grow into self-sufficient, independent adults. The secured and calm environment they are raised in fosters stimulation of brain development. They will tend to choose relationships with whom they can make secure connections in the future.