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The Practice of Attachment Parenting

I’m a writer for Attachment Parenting International. This post is also being featured on their blog today. I’d love for you to head over and check them (and me!) out. For those of you clicking over from there, welcome! Get to know me through my Popular or Random posts on the sidebar, or my About Me page.

There are days when I think to myself, “I shouldn’t call what I do attachment parenting – because quite honestly, today was anything but.”

I never thought of attachment parenting with any interest until about a year ago, right after Bella was born. Before that, I just knew I didn’t want to spank or hit, and wanted to treat my child with respect and dignity. I fell in love with babywearing along the way, and extended breastfeeding happened because it became a joy after the horrible months of reflux and colic in her infancy.

I began to find myself drawn into the attachment line of thinking once I knew I was going to be able to be a stay at home mom. I have always had a passion for working with children, from being a nanny to teaching – I would read constantly about how to be a better caregiver and educator. So it was only natural to start to think of motherhood in that way, and to decide what kind of a mother I wanted to be on a daily/hourly basis.

As I read, learn, and blog on attachment parenting, I fall deeper in love with the meaning I see behind it all: “A person’s a person no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss. Every child deserves respect, unconditional love, and a happy childhood. My goal as a mother is to provide that for my child. I see attachment parenting working for me to do just that.

But there are days when I feel as of I’m simply posing as an attached parent. I’ll lose my cool in the store after Bella has yet another meltdown about not being able to give the raw chicken a hug. I’ll miss a moment from being busy that I regret later on. I snatch something out of her hand she isn’t supposed to have, and see her confused face look up at me.

These are all parts of being a parent though. They aren’t things I am proud of, but I am learning to slowly let go of my guilt of not being “perfect” and realizing that parenting is an art form. It requires a lifetime of learning, sacrifice, and mistakes to get closer to what you strive to be.

I believe each day brings a new opportunity for me to become a better mother. A chance to learn something new about parenting and to apply it – from slowing down and seeing a situation through my child’s eyes, to remembering that positive reinforcement works best. I try to make a conscious effort to change a natural instinct of anger into empathy. I remember that it’s ok to love on Bella when she falls down. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter what people think of me breastfeeding her still – because it’s special for us.

I can say what I do is attachment parenting not because I’m already perfect at it, but because I practice at it. And every day I try to get a little closer to what it should look like in its perfection.


Comments

  1. Beautifully said. My son is 9 years old and suffers from being “gifted” AND having ADHD. It’s very difficult to remember to keep my cool when he won’t shut his mouth for me to get a word in, or when he obsesses about whatever it is he’s currently obsessed about. It usually involves the latest LEGO toy that he DOESN’T have. He literally eats, sleeps, and dreams about it until he has it. On a daily basis I feel like I’ve failed him, but I wake up every morning and try to remember that fostering his love of school & reading, allowing him to express himself in his OWN creative ways, and teaching him that obsession is NOT healthy are all good parenting and life-skills. Being a parent is not easy and it’s unfortunate when we feel it necessary to guilt ourselves for not being perfect.

  2. I am a SAHM.. Prego with my 6th. I use AP as a starter style as Dr Sears recommends. I love babywearing, co-sleeping/bedding close by, breastfeeding (my goal for this one is two). But as they get older I transition. Right now my 18 month old is in the nursery attached to our bedroom and my 3yo is on a mattress in our floor. We experimented with him going to his own room when he came out of his crib at almost 3. He’ll move back to his own room when he starts K. Also at age three we have found implementing a firmer discipline works for our family. We still reap the benefits of AP. My kids are both securely attached to us but very independent at the same time. Visit my blog for more on my experiences.

  3. I wish I’d done more of this parenting style in the beginning of my kids lives. I didn’t get to bf long b/c I didn’t know how to encourage it. I did babywear Sarah and John b/c of colic and loved it. I love what attachment parenting encourages and hope more parents become active in it. And Diana? I think you’re doing an excellent job at it. Excellent.

  4. I think regardless of how you describe your parenting style, what name you give it, you’re doing a great job with your child because you’re doing what works for her and for you. Finding that balance is not an easy task. We all struggle with things we wish we could do better or wish we hadn’t done at all. Our kids frustrate us one second and make us feel like a superhero the next.
    Regardless, I like reading about how others make parenting decisions and what works for them, because no matter what “camp” I fall in to or you’re from, I think there’s stuff I can learn from other mothers.

  5. I am going to try and remember everything you said here when I have kids. I have known for a long while, before my husband and I were even trying to get pregnant, that I wanted to take a gentle approach to parenting so attachment parenting seemed a natural choice for when we eventually have a child of our own. But I know that I’ll not be the best parent some days, and it’ll be those days that I try to remember this post. :)

  6. I love attachment parenting! I love how it pulls from Evolutionary Psychology (having spent years studying it, I’m crazy biased). I really believe there is value in fostering early instinctual experiences such as co-sleeping, positive reinforcement, consistency, and nurture. I think this comes naturally to a lot of parents, and especially as we move away from the “children as cattle property” theory of 70’s (still largely present in our legal system though). In the nature vs. nurture argument I tend to fall to the nurture side, if we can nurture our children with love and respect for who they are cognitively, emotionally, and physically I believe we can raise emotionally healthy adults.

  7. What a wonderful statement about AP. Makes it not sound so *hippy dippy*!

    I sent you a blog award – – check it out: http://bit.ly/hTnLD8

  8. Like you said, we think so much alike. I think attachment parenting is a way to connect with Parker on a deeper level each day and because of it I have a bond with him that I wouldn’t trade for all the “me” time in the universe!

  9. I love the fact that you acknowledge that practicing a certain style of parenting is not the smae as having mastered it! I think retraining ourselves to think differently than the mainstream “don’t spoil your kid” way of thinking is hard, and it takes time! You definitely have to believe in the reasoning behind it… and I love that you quoted Dr. Seuss, lol.

  10. I think that attachment parenting is just a way that has become my parenting style. I try to make the best choices for my daughter. In the beginning I did not even really know what AP was per say. Then I started reading and I was like yep, I try to fall with those view. I think as parents we all make mistakes, but we learn, we learn how to be a better parent, we learn how we want to change and if we did not do this then we would not being trying. Diana, you know I value your opinion, GREAT write up!

  11. So, I basically didn’t have time to read anything about “parenting styles” because I was raising the kids by myself and going to school. But apparently I was rolling with the attachment parenting gang and didn’t know there was a name for how I was raising my kids. Although, I guess I’m a little different when it comes to discipline. I’m not trying to make excuses, but having 2 toddlers by myself has definitely made me more stern. But I feel like I have to be or they will recognize weakness and wear me down like an old hat. I’m not kidding, I can see it in their eyes when they think they have won. I’m not one to spank my kids, I just threaten to send them to Brad and Angelina when they start acting like heathens. Or Amber from Teen Mom, and that usually gets them to start behaving. They don’t know who she is, but they know she’s meaner than me.

  12. I love this post Diana!!!!! So very well-said!

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    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……