Attachment Parenting: What Attachment Parenting is All About
Attachment Parenting ...
... is about creating a nurturing relationship with your child by responding to his or her needs. The theory behind this parenting style was first presented by Dr. William and Martha Sears. In this article, we will explore ways in which you can create a strong attachment with your child. The importance of this first relationship is profound—it is the basis for your child's future ability to have relationships with others.
As a mother who enjoys a close relationship with her two boys (currently, ages twelve and ten), I can share what I have done to create this bond. Before I do, though, let me tell you a little story. About three months ago, I was grocery shopping with my eldest son. As we were walking along the main aisle that runs along the check-out stands (where many people were waiting in line), my son put his arm around me and said in a voice loud enough for others to hear, "Do you know how much I love you, Mom?" I turned to him and smiled. He continued, "And do you have any idea how lucky you are that a kid my age would put his arm around his mom in a public place and admit this?" I laughed out loud and we continued walking arm in arm.
My son gets it. He knows that he is loved and his love for me is evident. He realizes that our relationship is much different than the relationships his friends have with their mothers (they would never make such a proclamation in public). His obvious appreciation of our relationship is something I will always treasure—something I attribute to my dedication to my own version of attachment parenting.
In my estimation, the principles of attachment parenting begin from the moment of conception—from a woman's dawning realization that she is pregnant and all that means. It starts with a commitment to take care of your body and give it what it needs to grow a fetus. It starts with creating room in your life for a baby—building a nest in your heart. It requires an admission that there's a lot to learn about parenting which means reflecting on your upbringing and reading some parenting books.
As I write in my book,
Keepers of the Children
, when my child was born, I took my direction from the womb. In the womb, every need of the fetus is anticipated and provided upon demand. I knew intuitively that this would not create a dependent child, but a child who knew he could rely on me to meet his needs. This meant we slept together in a family bed. It meant my child was not put on a feeding schedule, but was allowed to breast feed on demand. Although this wasn't convenient or easy for me, my convenience was not a concern because I knew in my heart that for the time being, my child came first.
To me, attachment parenting meant spending time with my son. Not quality time, but what I refer to as quantity time. Having him with me, close to my heart meant engaging in practices such as babywearing, but this continued, even after he was a baby. When he was a toddler and young boy, we did everything together. He was my constant companion. I played with him, I read to him, I marveled at his growth.
I still marvel at it today. Now, he's a teenager and one of my favorite things is to tell him how fun it is for me to see the kind of man he is becoming. And of course, when I say this, he beams at me, his eyes twinkling and his heart so big and beautiful and proud and just like when he was a little kid, his whole body seems to break into a smile.
Although the early years were challenging, they were fulfilling and what of the sacrifices—well, they weren't sacrifices at all. They were simply the growing pains of a girl's transformation into a woman, like a butterfly trying to squeeze itself through the tiny opening of its chrysalis, I gave birth to myself and emerged a mother. This meant I had to leave behind my selfish, self-indulgent self—that girl in search of personal gain and convenience—and create my own brand of attachment parenting. (Learn more by signing up for my online parenting class
Many women cannot squeeze themselves through the small opening in the chrysalis. Although their baby made it through the birth canal, they cannot or will not aspire to the challenge and give birth to themselves. They simply can't find the will to transform themselves because they're too invested in their egos. I say this not to look down on them, but to point out the tragedy: they never get to spread their wings and dwell in the glory of what it truly means to love a child—to give their offspring the strength to fly and soar.
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Copyright © 2006 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written consent of the author, however you may link to it from your web site, blog or forum.
About the Author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book,
Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting
. Written for parents of all creeds and colors, the book combines ancient native ideas (like stewardship) with cutting edge psychology to teach parents how to connect with and engage their children and create a fulfilling relationship based on love and mutual respect.
Attachment Parenting - Child Psychology
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