Attachment Parenting: A Brief Overview

Filed under: Expert Advice: Just For You

Attachment parenting is a parenting style developed by William Sears, M.D., a pediatrician and father of eight who believes that children form a strong emotional bond with parents or caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences.

Attachment Parenting International
has developed eight principles of attachment parenting that stress forming an immediate bond with the child.

The principles include:

1. Preparing for pregnancy, birth and parenting.
2. Feeding with love and respect.
3. Responding with sensitivity.
4. Using a nurturing touch.
5. Ensuring safe sleep both physically and emotionally.
6. Providing consistent and loving care.
7. Practicing postive discipline.
8. Striving for balance in personal and family life.

To help parents achieve these principles, Dr. Sears has identified "The Baby B's," seven tools designed to improve the parent-child relationship.

They include:
1. Baby bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Babywearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Believing in the language value of your baby's cry
6. Being wary of baby trainers
7. Balancing

Naturally, attachment parenting has come with some controversy. Some mothers choose to formlua feed. Some feel babywearing spoils children. There are claims that co-sleeping can cause SIDS. Sharon Hays, sociologist and author of "The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood"," feels this parenting philosophy imposes unrealistic obligations on parents, particularly for working women.

Despite the criticisms, attachment parenting has grown in popularity, giving birth to a network of support groups across the country. Advocates claim that this parenting style encourages a secure view of the world.

Experts, including Dr. Sears, agree that parents must use these guidelines and tools to create a parenting style that works best for their family.

Have more tough questions? ParentDish can answer your childcare questions.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.