Sunday, August 22, 2010

Attachment Parenting ... what does it mean?

The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, is my favourite book on the principles of attachment parenting. They make it clear that attachment parenting (AP) is not a new style of parenting, but is an old way of caring for children. Dr. Sears best describes it when he says, “attachment parenting is what parents would do naturally without the influence of experts,” (p.26).

Dr. Sears and his wife base their book on studies that confirm that good things happen when mothers and babies are permitted to be in sync with one another. Attachment parenting is about responding appropriately to the needs of your baby and knowing when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’. It is not ‘spoiling’ a child, as some critics may argue. When you spoil a child it is a result of an inappropriate response. When a young baby’s needs are met they build trust with their caregiver, making it easier for them to deal with the “no” when they are older. An attached parent also gains the good sense of appropriate times to say “no” when the child is older.

Attached parents shape their children’s behaviour by encouraging positive behaviour, are quick to intervene and gently correct behaviour problems. Attachment parenting is an easy way to connect with your children and family. You grow as a family and become a more competent parent. Trust yourself and your baby and you will shape each other’s behaviour, feel loved, confident and secure to explore the world together.

Too many people label attachment parenting as being a "granola" type of parenting.  I'd love to hear what any of you think of the Attachment Parenting theory?  What does it mean to you?
Reference: Sears, W., Sears, M. (2001). The Attachment Parenting Book: A commonsense guide to understanding and nurturing your baby. Little Brown and Company: New York.


  1. Attachment parenting is all about instinct and common sense for us! It's sometimes hard to explain, especially to older relatives who mean well but feel we are "spoiling" our baby, and that she will manipulate us. Anyway, long debate, but that's it - instinct and common sense. :)

  2. My friend is a big believer in attachment parenting. I didn't quite understand it until I saw her with her daughter and saw the bond that they had and the way she is so responsive to her daughter's needs. For me, part of attachment parenting is remembering that your child isn't just a child, but a person that needs respect like anyone begin with respect, not end with it...and following what you believe is best to help your child develop into a confident person.

  3. “attachment parenting is what parents would do naturally without the influence of experts”

    ...this statement loses all its credibility given that it is from the mouth of one of those so-called "experts". It's complete circular logic along the lines of "don't listen to THIS expert listen to THAT one". The Sears family has become another brand that you have to maneuver through as a parent- I take anything he says with a grain of salt, especially given that he advocates doing things such as lying about allergies to scare people out of not giving your kids food you don't want them to have (which is completely irresponsible coming from a physician, in my opinion).

    As for "attachment parenting"- meh, I'm against parenting labels in general. In many cases, I wouldn't say that people came to practice this philosophy organically, but rather after reading up on those "experts" such as Dr Sears. I call shenanigans on anyone who says they will be an "attachment parent" before their child actually arrives, because they have no clue yet whether things like co-sleeping and babywearing will work for them or their families (my oldest refuses to co-sleep, even now as a three year old. She will literally kick you out of her bed and tell you to go to your room- I know, I've tried!).

  4. I believe that what a child wants and needs is the same thing in the first year. We instinctively practiced attachment parenting after bringing home a very insecure little baby girl. We enjoy co-sleeping and baby wearing. I have dealt with the "spoiling" speach from parents and ignore it. I have no regrets of attending to my girls every need, day or night.

  5. I knew nothing about Dr. Sears or Attachment Parenting while I was pregnant, or for the first few months after she was born. I "discovered" that that was the type of parenting that I was practicing. I totally agree that AP is the style of parenting that parents would do naturally. But I think in addition to it being the style of parenting that they would do without the influence of "experts," I think it's also the style of parenting that they would do without the influence of Western society. There is so much pressure to 'conform' to being a 'normal' parent that it's quite frustrating! Personally, I don't see leaving a helpless infant in a crib in their own bedroom as being normal! I have a science background and it makes sense to me that things that are 'normal' are what we would have evolved doing - for example breastfeeding, cosleeping and responding to your baby's needs/cries. These are normal human 'evolutionary' behaviours, not letting them cry to sleep alone. Baby's left like this would have been eaten by wild animals! Your baby doesn't know that they're safe in their crib and so they cry so you will find them and protect them. Anyway, sorry for the little rant!