What Is The Attachment Parenting Style?

July 28, 2021

Every parent desires a strong emotional relationship with their child. Additionally, they endeavor to build a parenting style consistent with their principles. Some parenting approaches advocate considering children as little adults with whom one may reason. Others use a strategy that emphasizes rule-following. They all aspire to produce people who can sustain good relationships and go on to start their own families.

How can you determine which parenting approach is effective when there is so much conflicting advice? Sometimes, trial and error is the best method. Armed with contradictory ideologies, every parent tries out several techniques to determine what works best for them and their children.

The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting International (API) is a global educational organization devoted to this parenting method. API lists eight attachment parenting concepts. Parents have great discretion in interpreting and implementing these rules. The eight fundamentals are:

  1. Get ready for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. Attachment parenting proponents believe it is essential to eliminate negative ideas and emotions regarding pregnancy. According to them, doing so prepares a parent for the emotionally taxing labor of parenting.
  2. Feed with affection and regard.
  3. Proponents assert that breastfeeding is the optimal method for establishing a stable bond. It teaches newborns that their parents will pay attention to their indications and meet their needs.
  4. Respond with delicacy. Attachment parenting views all emotional displays, including recurrent tantrums, as genuine attempts at communicating. These attempts should be taken seriously and comprehended, as opposed to being chastised or disregarded.
  5. Employ a caring touch. Proponents of attachment parenting advocate for maximal skin-to-skin contact. This can be accomplished through joint showers and "baby-wearing" — carrying infants in a front-facing sling during the day.
  6. Engage in nocturnal parenting. Attachment parenting specialists advocate developing "co-sleeping" arrangements. With co-sleeping, infants sleep in the same room as their parents so they may be fed and comforted emotionally throughout the night. Some parents engage in "bed-sharing," or sleeping with their infants in the same bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics presently advises against this since it may raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  7. Provide consistent, compassionate attention. Attachment parenting advocates recommend practically continual parental presence. This includes work, walks, and parents' night out. They oppose infant care that exceeds 20 hours per week for infants less than 30 months.
  8. Practice good discipline. It is recommended that parents divert, redirect, and lead even the smallest infants, as well as model positive conduct. Attachment parenting seeks to comprehend the meaning of a child's undesirable conduct. Instead of spanking or just imposing their will on their children, parents are urged to work with their children to find a solution.
  9. Maintain a balance between your personal and family life. Parents are advised to establish a support network, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and avoid parental burnout.

Benefits Of Attachment Parenting

The attachment parenting advantage most supported by studies may be connected to breastfeeding and its numerous medicinal, nutritional, developmental, and neuromotor benefits. According to the AAP recommendation established in 2012, exclusive nursing is advised for up to six months and should be maintained with foods for at least one additional year.

Moreover, a 2019 meta-analysis found an unexpected advantage of this parenting approach. It revealed that children whose parents were attuned to and responsive to their emotional and physical needs were more than twice as likely to have superior language abilities compared to those who did not have this parenting style.

Developing the ability to regulate one's emotions may be another advantage of attachment parenting. This paper from 2010 concludes that infants exposed to a highly attentive parenting style cry less and display less discomfort. In addition, older babies and children impacted by responsive parenting were found to be better able to manage negative emotions such as fear, anger, and discomfort.

In turn, this minimizes their exposure to stress, which can have a good impact on brain development and the ability to manage stress later in life.

The Downsides Of Attachment Parenting

Bed-sharing is the most significant and potentially grave disadvantage of attachment parenting. As we've explored, the danger of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is greater with co-sleeping than with room-sharing, a practice in which the infant is placed in a separate, safe sleeping area inside the same room.

Implementing attachment parenting strategies may be physically and emotionally taxing on the parent (traditionally the breastfeeding mother) or primary caregiver, notwithstanding the paucity of evidence on its effects.

This strategy may hinder a mother's capacity to develop appropriate sleep habits, return to work, or even retain the same degree of intimacy with her husband due to its emphasis on nursing on demand and continual physical proximity (at least for some time). Therefore, all attachment parenting strategies may not be compatible with the lifestyles of some families.

The Conclusion

Bringing a child into your life might alter your environment in a variety of ways. And we know that mom guilt is real, so while considering parenting styles, study many to understand tactics that suit your views, life, and aspirations.

The most compelling long-term advantage of attachment parenting appears to be developing a sensitive and empathic parenting style that continues to satisfy your child's physical and emotional requirements.

And while the benefits of breastfeeding are well-known, each new mother must make her own decision. Importantly, exercise caution when cosleeping. Before utilizing this attachment parenting technique, we suggest reviewing safe sleeping recommendations with your child's physician.

Thomas studied Bachelor Studies in Family Life and Child Development. He now spearheads our team of writers and editors and ensures the quality of articles we write here in Mothering21.

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