So what’s attachment parenting?
It’s a parenting philosophy based on attachment theory in developmental psychology. The phrase was coined by the pediatrician William Sears. [Source]
Attachment theory, originally proposed by John Bowlby, states that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally.
The term may be new but the parenting style is based on the way our ancestors handled parenting.
Here are other things I learned from my reading:
- Building trust. When babies cry – actually a survival tool – and adults respond to it, the former learns to trust the latter. This is because crying is a communication tool and being responsive to the tears means you are communicating.[Source]
- Children are born loving, innocent and trusting. All parents need to do is sustain and nurture this, instead of “turning them around” by teaching them life is difficult. [Source]
- “We recognize that in a very beautiful way, our child teaches us – if we listen – what love is.” [Source]
Though you can find tons of definitions on the internet, I have learned that AP is all about being there for your child day-in and day-out:
- Trusting your child
- Observing his cues
- Understanding his language
- Respecting and attending to his needs as soon as possible
- Respecting his pace: not pushing him, and
- Trusting my instincts
For me, the best and most rewarding benefit of AP…
Was when my daughter was an infant – she learned how to trust us.
Now, she trusts that we’re here and are always ready to attend to her needs.
She in return learned to trust in her own ability to give cues.
It’s a slow process and I must admit, there are times when I questioned myself whether we’re doing the right thing but our instinct as parents allow us to continue.
Now that she’s two, she has become a very compassionate child.
She pays attention to how people react and gets affected when someone is hurt or is feeling bad.
She’s a child full of affection.
Once, her godparent’s dog growled at her when she was attempting to hug him - he was grouchy at that time and didn’t want to play with her.
She suddenly stopped, looked at him seriously and said:
“Don’t growl. I love you very much!”
My heart melted.
Also, everytime her toy would fall, she’d let out a very affectionate “awwww,” pick it up quickly and then say:
“Don’t worry. I love you very much!”
She has I-love-yous for everybody!
To end this article, I’d like to leave this link for everybody to read.
It’s a great example of how AP can help a parent or caregiver connect with children so they can attend to their needs.
Warning: This real life story will make your heart swell and you cry.
Here’s a teaser of this wonderful article:
“My daughter never cried alone, left in a room. Had I ever practiced CIO (cry it out), I would have woken to a lifeless baby. I held her through months of gut wrenching doubt, moments when I cried too. But today, I watch my daughter play and run, and laugh. I carried her through a mom’s worst nightmare… and we both survived.”