Attachment parenting (or AP for short) is a style of parenting first proposed by Dr William Sears. It was designed to promote a strong emotional bond between parents and their children (also known as a secure attachment). Sears explains how this helps the child become emotionally well-rounded individuals capable of forming and maintaining secure and empathic relationships in adulthood.
Some key principles of attachment parenting include extended breast-feeding, baby-wearing (where the parent carries baby around all day in a sling) and a gentle, loving approach to night-time parenting including co-sleeping. Attachment parents believe that contrasting styles of parenting promote the child’s independence too early on in the child’s life and this damages the parent-child attachment.
It should be noted that the night-time parenting philosophy in this method strongly conflicts with the Ferber technique and other theories that we have previously discussed on this site.
When writing this blog, I deliberately choose to examine conflicting parenting styles because it is my intention to remain impartial and put forward the differing schools of thought. I intend to point out the advantages and disadvantages of each technique without bias.
The reason I do this is because I believe strongly that every family and situation is different and that it’s up to the parents to decide what is best for their child. To Sears’ credit he does not preach Attachment Parenting as an absolute. Instead he describes it as a tool to be used to ‘complete the job.’ He advises parents to pick and choose the components that suit their personal circumstances which is a mindset I wish every author in his field would share!
If there are any attachment parents who stumble across this blog, please feel free to share your experiences and opinions with our readers because there will be many new parents currently in the process of deciding which style of parenting is right for them. Your contribution may prove to be invaluable in the decision-making process.