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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Attachment Parenting - The Fallacy

We have all heard the term "Attachment Parenting." It was coined by paediatrician Dr.William Sears after reading a book called "The Continum Concept" by Jane Leidloff. Combining her ideas with the work of Dr. John Bowbly he introduced AP to the world. He wrote many books and articles in magazines such as Mothering to outline the 7 Baby B's that one must follow to "be" an "Attachment Parent."
As a new mom trying to find her sea legs 6 years ago I read everything from Baby Wise to The Baby Book and what he was saying in those 900 pages really resonated with me. I followed those Baby B's exclusively. Now as a mom of 3 young boys I want to let you know that the Baby B's and "Attachment Parenting" is a crock.
You can Breastfeed that baby until he is 10 and he will still say that he hates you. You can bed-share until she is 15 and she will still defy you. You can wear that baby in a baby carrier until your heart is content and he will still look you in the face and lie to you about something.
The Baby B's and the term "Attachment Parenting" just give women more tools to oppose eachother, to continue with the mommy wars and judge eachother more harshly.
In my opinion you could do every single one of the Baby B's and still NOT be an "Attachment Parent". You could also not do any of them and have the most well adjusted and attached children ever.
I like to think of it as who a person IS as a parent and not what they DO.
The Baby B's are like a loose list of things that you can do with an *infant* to foster attachment, and all of these become obsolete for most of us once our children are around 3 or so. (there is of course the stray person who continues to co-sleep and breastfeed until 10, but there are not many here in North America.)
So after 3 years do we just cease to be an "Attachment Parent"? I think that instead of focusing on the list of things that make you AP we stop putting all our efforts into judging those that feed with formula, wear a bjorn or push a stroller and focus more on how to foster attachment with the preschooler, young child, tween, teenager and young adult.
How to instill confidence, self esteem, and self worth. To foster empathy and sympathy but also assertiveness.
We need to ignore the claims made by other moms saying that "I AP my kids and they turned out so right" because her kids have just as many off days as yours do, and she loses her temper or takes the easy way out sometimes too.
So stop believing people when they say AP is the BEST way, it may be for some people, but I think what the best way is LISTENING to your OWN gut and doing what is BEST for YOUR family. If that means following 2 or 1 or none of the Baby B's so be it.
Parent your children with love, with respect, with kindness, empathy and compassion. Have no regrets, and be kind to yourself in the process and you will be even better than a so called "Attachment Parent". And as a bonus your kids will be better off as well when these unattainable expectations are released from your psyche.
I am no longer an "Attachment Parent". I cast that label from myself. I am my kids' mom AKA a parent and the BEST one that my kids deserve.


Kelly said...

Confession: I have never read any Dr Sears book and I have no idea what the B's are. I just like AP because I found that the mamas are more like me than other groups!

Alisha said...

I love you Kelly.

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