Attacking the minority

There have been a lot of annoying articles written about attachment parenting recently as part of the buzz created by TIME’s recent stunt.
But probably the most annoying article I’ve read is one published by the Guardian last Friday, written by Katha Pollitt. Her sub-heading claims that,

“The latest fashion in child-rearing is about regulating the behaviour of women, not benefiting children.”

That’s possibly the most twisted take on attachment parenting I’ve heard so far. Attachment parenting not about benefiting children? How did she arrive at that conclusion?

And clearly it is inconceivable that women could genuinely act out of love for their child, love of being a mother, and through natural instinct and informed choice. There must be some ulterior motive. Or they’re just fashion victims.

She accuses attachment parents of projecting their guilt ‘outward onto more relaxed mothers’. Strange. I’m not sure how I project something that I don’t feel, but if I make other mothers around me feel guilty then I’m very sorry, but I would gently suggest that the problem originates with their own perceptions and insecurities, none of which are within my control.

The article goes on to suggest that instead of practising attachment parenting our efforts would be better put into tackling child poverty, as this ‘affects children’s well-being more directly’ – a clear failure to grasp the whole concept of attachment parenting as a long term goal.

Sure, we need to tackle child poverty, but make no mistake, no matter how much we reduce poverty, social problems will not go away if we continue to fail to understand and take seriously the emotional needs of our children. And I’m not saying everyone must practise attachment parenting, but a little open-mindedness might help, a little more willingness to consider new ideas and information.

Ms Pollitt’s ignorant remarks are insulting, to say the least, and on more than one level. They are insulting to women who make this parenting choice, not just by dismissing the parenting style itself, but by suggesting that they are merely following a fad, are victims of some sort of social conspiracy to ‘regulate’ their behaviour, and furthermore, do not actually have the best interests of their children at heart.

As usual, the minority are an easy target for ridicule and attack. A typical social problem, and perhaps another example of our failure to raise human beings who are able to be respectful and empathetic towards each other.

5 Responses to Attacking the minority

  1. charlotte heaps says:

    Totally agree about this. But at least time has brought attention to ap, and they say no publicity is bad publicity. Attached at the heart has seen a massive sales boost and has sold out in many areas so if people are intrigued enough to find out more that’s got to be a good thing….

  2. Mary Mercy says:

    It is infuriating. I feel as though I am reading endless articles about how breast-feeding and attachment parenting mothers are just trying to make others feel bad but it strikes me as pure self-generated guilt. Its rare to read about the pros of attachment parenting or that breast-feeding is better than formula without making a conscious effort to seek out this information and yet those who practice these parenting practices are regularly castigated for “forcing” their choices on others.

  3. marytuda says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. I’m certainly an old-fashioned feminist, but have ended up “attachment parenting”, I can see, out of a combination of instinct and circumstance (no career anyway, not much money, only one child, no family nearby). I do think it’s fair to wonder if it is always in the best interest of the child. For instance, I have often thought I should have taken the trouble to accustom my toddler more to other adults – friendly babysitters, for example, on a weekly basis. Apart from obvious advantages to me, it would have given him a much needed wider network. He’s now a sweet kid, basically confident, I believe, but shy socially; slow to assert himself in a new setting. He can seem younger than his age. I do think this is just his nature, not anyone’s fault. But a wider social experience might have helped him.

    • Jo says:

      Interesting comments. I assume you mean you never really left him with another adult, whilst many children get left with a childminder or in a nursery at least some of the time?

      Personally I think that taking care of our own children is the best thing we can do for them. The secure attachment lays the foundations that enable them to be confident, and to form healthy relationships with others.

      If children are inclined to be shy or unassertive I would feel they need this secure base all the more, as this is what will enable them to flourish in time.

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