|Attachment Parenting is Not...
|by Sarah Sprague
Attachment Parenting is not Indulgent Parenting. Attachment parents do not
"spoil" their children. Spoiling is done when a child is given everything
that they want regardless of what they need and regardless of what is practical.
Indulgent parents give toys for tantrums, ice cream for breakfast, allow their infants
to forward face before they're physically safe doing so. Attachment parents don't give
their children everything that they want, they give their children everything that
they need. Attachment parents believe that love and comfort are free and necessary.
Not sweets or toys.
|Attachment Parenting is not "afraid of tears" parenting. Our
kids cry. The difference is that we understand that tantrums and tears come from
emotions and not manipulation. And our children understand this too. They cry and have
tantrums sometimes, of course. But they do this because their emotions are so
overwhelming that they need to get it out. They do not expect to be
"rewarded" for their strong negative emotions, they simply expect that we
will listen. I don't remember the last time my partner was feeling so frustrated about
something and needed to vent, and I told him to go sit alone in a corner and come talk
to me when everything was hunky dory dandy. We pick up our babies when they cry, and
we respond to the tears of our older children because we believe firmly that comfort
is free, love is free, and that when a child has need for comfort and love, it is our
job to provide those things. We are not afraid of tears. We don't avoid them. We hold
our children through them and teach them that when they hurt or are frustrated we are
here to comfort them and help them work through their emotions.
Attachment Parenting is not Clingy Parenting. I do not cling to my children. In
fact, I'm pretty free-range. As soon as they can move they usually move away from me
and let me set up a chase as they crawl, run, skip and hop on their merry way to
explore the world. Sure, I carry them and hug them and chase them and kiss them and
rock them and sleep with them. But this is not me following them everywhere and
pulling them back to me. This is me being a home base. The "attachment"
comes from their being allowed to attach to us, not from us attaching to them like
Attachment Parenting is not Selfish Parenting. It is also not selfless parenting.
We are not doing it for us, and we are not doing it to torment ourselves.
||Attachment parenting is not Helicopter Parenting. I don't hover. I
supervise. I follow, I teach, I demonstrate, I explain. I don't slap curious hands
away. I show how to do things safely. I let my child do the things that my child
wishes to do, first with help and then with supervision and finally with trust. I
don't insist that my 23 month old hold my hand when we walk on the sidewalk because I
know that I can recall him with my voice because he trusts me to allow him to explore
and he trusts me to explain when something is dangerous and to help him satiate his
Most of the negative things that I hear about "attachment parents" are
completely off-base and describe something that is entirely unlike AP. AP is
child-centric and focuses on the needs of the child. Children need structure, rules,
and boundaries. Attachment Parents simply believe that the child and the parent are
allies, not adversaries. And that children are taught, not trained.
Sarah Sprague is a computer programmer turned mom to three. One profession always goes by the
book and the other seldom ever does. After finding that many of the "things we are
told" about parenthood and children simply make for stressed out parents and miserable
children, she has embraced the ideals of attachment parenting with the joy that comes from
listening to one's heart and instincts. Sarah's other writings on motherhood can be found at nurshable.com.
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