Attachment parenting; not just for babies

Enough has been written about TIME magazine’s cover, and the service, or disservice it did to promoting attachment parenting. I feel anything I add would be mere minnows in an already raging sea of debate. 

But I will add this: What bugs me, aside from all the other issues with TIME magazine’s choice of cover, is that attachment parenting is, as seems all too common, made out to be all about breastfeeding. 

One thing I personally would like to shout out to parents who wish to know more about an attachment based parenting approach is that it is not just about breastfeeding, co-sleeping and baby wearing. 

OK, attachment theory informs us of how vitally important those first few years are.  How a child’s early life experiences can wire their brain, and form the basis of their social and emotional development, really cannot be over-estimated. So it’s essential that parents get this. But get this too; there’s still plenty of opportunity to screw things up after those first few years. 

It doesn’t matter how long we breastfeed or co-sleep for, or how secure our child’s attachment to us is, if we then go on to make poorly informed parenting choices as our children get older, this too has the capacity to do lasting harm. If a child is consistently subjected, day in, day out, for years, to parenting methods that harm self-esteem and parent/child relationships, and fail to meet their emotional needs, this too has far reaching effects. And even for the many children who emerge from it all OK, how much better could we have done? Better than just OK. 

Attachment parenting is for life, not just for babies. So let’s promote attachment parenting beyond infancy. I wonder what TIME magazine would come up with as a cover photo for this. Any ideas?

5 Responses to Attachment parenting; not just for babies

  1. charlotte heaps says:

    couldnt agree more!

  2. K says:

    Surely having a physical close babyhood facilitates a close toddlerhood and beyond. It’s a bit pointless preaching ap to a parent who believes cio and Gina Ford are the way forward?

    Get them from babyhood and they’ll just continue, because it makes sense, but not many people could come to it from toddlerhood.

    • Jo says:

      But attachment parenting isn’t just about physical closeness – that’s the point. It’s about how we respond to our child not just when they’re a baby but once they start to become a small person with a will of their own, and on into the teenage years. And if we’re talking about attachment parenting I think it’s important this is understood and not overlooked in the tendency to focus on breastfeeding, babywearing and bed-sharing.
      And I don’t think it’s ever too late. Any parent who is minded to can parent with empathy, compassion, and take an attuned, connective, relationship focussed approach with their child, whether or not they did ‘the 3 Bs’ when they were a baby.

      • K says:

        The physical closeness does aide mental and emotional closeness both as a baby and a going forward. Whilst i agree that you don’t *need* to be physically close to be emotionally close, it does facilitate it.

        Whilst i agree that you (general) can come to ap whenever you like, it is easier from birth. Such a dramatic change of style for both parent and child after years of Gina Ford or similar parenting would be much tougher for both to adjust to.

        Surely starting as you mean to go on, and doing that in the easiest way possible is a good message?

      • Jo says:

        I totally agree!
        I’d just like to see attachment parenting promoted more as something that goes beyond infancy (whether or not it started in infancy), and not just all about ‘the 3 Bs’.

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