Archives for Parenting for Attachment

General

What’s the Big Deal with Attachment Parenting?


I hear, from time to time, that Attachment Parenting is not the only way to form a secure attachment with your child.
“Attachment” is very literally the relationship style between parent and child, and “secure” or “insecure” describes the quality of that relationship style. Secure attachment develops out of an appropriate and sensitive responsiveness to a child by a consistent, loving caregiver. Consistency and sensitivity, especially in moments of distress, are key.

The hallmark of a secure parent-child attachment is trust but also includes affection and empathy. Children with insecure attachment are more likely to have difficulty with social skills, behavior and emotional self-regulation, language development and school readiness, as well as more likely to develop low self-esteem and obesity, to name a few. Adults with insecure attachment continue to struggle with relationships and stress-coping.
Often, the question above is being asked by someone referring to the stereotypical “attachment parenting” lifestyle—the vision coming to mind of a mother giving birth at home, wearing her baby in a sling, breastfeeding through toddlerhood and other child rearing techniques that constitute choices some parents make but are not what define Attachment Parenting.

Attachment Parenting is a term that covers any parenting philosophy with the goal of forming secure parent-child attachment. The attachment parenting lifestyle is included under the Attachment Parenting umbrella, but it’s far from the only option.
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"Chat with..."

Pocket Full of Feelings: An Interview with Dr. Ann Corwin


Part of the core of Attachment Parenting is teaching our children about emotions—what they’re feeling and what to do about it, as well as how to empathize with others—a skill referred to as “emotional literacy” by parenting consultants like Ann Corwin, PhD, MEd, of Laguna Niguel, California, USA.

We know more than ever that emotional literacy is critical for healthy human development. Unfortunately it’s a skill that was not regularly nurtured in past generations, and many parents are learning about difficult emotions like jealousy and disappointment alongside their children. It was evident as I talked with Ann, mother to two grown children, that her life’s passion is in empowering parents in strengthening their relationships with their children and that emotional literacy is very much central to her work.

RITA: Thank you, Ann, for your time. Let’s start by learning how you came into your line of work?
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General

Are You an Attachment Parent?

By Jennifer Scoby, AttachmentParenting.org. Reprinted with permission by Attachment Parenting International, www.attachmentparenting.org. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Attachment Parenting International is often contacted by confused parents like a mother who recently asked, “I no longer breastfeed my baby, but I try to babywear and I like the idea of having a securely attached relationship and using positive discipline. Is it OK to do some of Attachment Parenting but not all of it?”

Many parents could be disillusioned about what it fundamentally means to practice Attachment Parenting and where they fall into the parenting philosophy spectrum. How many parents out there wonder where they fit in?

As far as we’re concerned, you can babywear, breastfeed, cosleep, be a stay-at-home parent and more but still not be practicing Attachment Parenting if you don’t let yourself get emotionally attached to your baby or child. Or you can choose to do almost none of the above parenting techniques and still practicing Attachment Parenting as long as you form a genuine emotional connection with your child.
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Conflict Resolution

Children Are People, and We Don’t Hit People

It’s time to acknowledge that children are people.

That may sound silly, but there are parents who swear by discipline methods that don’t reflect their child’s value as a person.

This reminds me, there's new study led by George Holden of Southern Methodist University has found—based on real-time audio recordings of parents who volunteered to wear a wire during their daily interactions—that of parents who use corporal discipline, spanking and slapping is a very frequent child-rearing practice.
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General

More “Attachment Parents” Out There than We Realize


I grew up in a loving home. I knew my parents cared deeply for me, and our lifestyle was centered on the family.

I know my mom did some crying-it-out methods, but I also know that she breastfed all four of her children, that she had unmedicated births and that she attended to each of us through the night, letting us sleep in her bedroom when we needed security. I even found a photo of her wearing me in a sling!

While my mom spanked us when we were young, eventually her discipline methods gave way to more positive discipline. She worked full-time as a researcher before having children and for a year after having her oldest, before becoming a stay-at-home mom for the next 26 years, actively volunteering with many of our extracurricular activities. When my youngest sister went to high school, my mom got a part-time job that fit within the school’s hours, allowing her to see her daughter off to school every morning and welcome her home every afternoon.
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General

Healthy Support Statements from Parents of Competitors


My family loves watching the Olympics, and we marvel at how these athletes are able to get to such a high level of performance, often at very young ages—a 15-year-old ice-skating gold medalist, an 18-year-old skiing medalist and so on. When my children ask how these athletes get so good, I reply that it took them a lot of time and practice.

No doubt there was also a lot of support from their parents.

As parents, we all want our children to succeed in life and part of that is mastering some skill that they can call their own. So we help our children explore their natural talents and personal interests, and we guide them as they develop their skills set.

It can be confusing learning how to be supportive of our children’s pursuits without becoming overbearing, which can actually have the opposite effect of helping our children grow into their potential, because certainly we don’t want to appear to not be proud of our children’s accomplishments.
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General

Working Families Can Create Secure Attachments, Too


There is a widespread belief that to be a good Attachment Parenting (AP) family, one parent must stay at home with the children full-time and that parent should be the mother. To be sure, this is a myth.

Some parents are mistaken in thinking that “real” AP families don’t choose to put their children in daycare.

However, parents need to look beyond the specific practices to realize the true goal in Attachment Parenting: Whether or not parents stay at home with their children is not as important as being sure to raise their children with secure attachments. If a dual-income family strives to maintain a strong parent-child emotional bond, this family is just as AP as one in which the mother or father stays at home full-time.
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General

Prepare for Parenting by Healing Your Childhood Wounds

We often hear the cornerstone of healthy parenting quoted as consistently “responding with sensitivity” to our infants’ and children’s emotional and physical needs in relation to their biological-developmental stage. And while I agree this overarching idea is at the core of healthy parenting, I do not feel that it is necessarily as instinctual as many authors and parenting experts claim.

Before parents can even fathom relying on their gut feelings in how to approach their parent-child relationships in a healthy, sensitive way, it is my firm belief that they must first address and heal from any childhood emotional wounds they may be carrying around, often without their realization until they bring a new child into the world, and even sometimes not even then.

Depending on life circumstances, our individual attachment quality, the patterns of our relationships from childhood on, communication style, coping skills picked up along the way and other factors, even the most balanced people among us can still have areas in their emotional life needing attention. And every one of us always has room to improve, just because we humans are like that—if we’re not intentionally moving forward, we’ll slide backwards.
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