As parents, there are many methods and ways which we choose to bring up our children. I believe the choices we make reflect onto our children which grow their personalities and the people they grow up to be.
With both of my children, I took the approach of ‘attachment parenting’, which is a parenting philosophy that purposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of mother and baby by maternal empathy and responsiveness, as well as continuous bodily closeness and touch.
I feel content knowing I am continuously nurturing my children, fulfilling their trust and showing them endless affection which I believe is the reason why I am lucky enough to share a precious bond with them that I do now.
Attachment parenting isn’t necessarily about rules – it’s about creating a special relationship between yourself and your child. Some of these things could include baby wearing, long-term breastfeeding, co-sleeping and always being there to respond to your child’s cries (no matter how exhausted you are). So, basically, attachment parenting, to me, wasn’t ever something I had a second thought about. I knew from the beginning with both of my children that I wanted to keep them close and show them affection at any chance I could get.
Becoming a mother at the age of 17, I found myself in a constant dispute regarding the choices I made as a mother. Advice and opinion were available everywhere online, not including from my own family and people I knew. The doubt I had as my role as a mother grew each time someone would question my parenting techniques and methods which I felt not only benefited my child but also helped me overcome that doubtfulness and I had to learn to have trust within myself with the choices I made. Attachment parenting wasn’t something I had researched and ticked off on a list of the 1000 things to do to become a great mother – it’s something I had taken upon without even realising.
I’ve done my research on attachment parenting – does this whole thing really work? Am I guaranteed a great relationship with my children by keeping them close and continuously showing them affection?
According to Jan Hunt’s article, What is Attachment Parenting? on The Natural Child Project, she says:
“In short, attachment parenting is loving and trusting our children. If we can do that, they will be able to trust us and in turn, trust others and be trustworthy persons themselves. The educator John Holt once said that everything he wrote could be summed up in two words: “trust children”. This is the most precious gift we can give as parents.”
I believe I am building my children to be independent, strong, trustworthy and compassionate. ‘Building a rod for your own back’ is something which I’m, as well as thousands of other mums, are tired of hearing. As if we as mothers don’t have enough pressure of making mistakes, having regrets or having the constant worry that we are doing everything wrong.
As parents, we make choices for our children on a daily basis – whether that be what they have for dinner, the discipline we choose or decisions in their everyday life. The ways we choose to parent our children also reflect onto them and make a huge impact on the people they grow up to be. I believe by using attachment parenting, my children will form into independent adults with empathy towards others and have the ability to trust others, as well as be trustworthy themselves.
With millions of parents all over the world, comes the ability for others and parenting experts to give opinion and advice on how we bring up our children, as well as the methods we choose to guide us. Unfortunately for us, there is no guide to parenting other than our maternal instincts and what we believe to be the right way.
Dr William Sears from askdrsears.com states that:
“A close attachment after birth and beyond allows the natural, biological attachment-promoting behaviours of the infant and the intuitive, biological, caregiving qualities of the mother to come together. Both members of this biological pair get off to the right start at a time when the infant is most needy and the mother is most ready to nurture. Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child.”
Although attachment parenting can seem like a cult of parents who keep their child clung to their backs whilst they sing lullabies and braid each others hair – it’s just parents, like you and I. For me, attachment parenting was never questioned or thought upon as a way of parenting, it was just in my nature and motherly instincts to tend to their every need.
Attachment parenting isn’t something new, It’s been around for centuries – until childcare advisers came in and led parents to follow books instead of their babies. It seems many people believe being nurturing and responsive to your child’s needs may spoil them and set you up for manipulation.
When it comes to parenting, there is no right or wrong way. We do the best with what we know and we choose methods which work for us and our children. Unfortunately, there will always be at least one person who doesn’t agree with your way of parenting, but that’s OK.
Despite the consistent mum guilt which we as parents have all experienced at least once since having children – our children think were perfect. They admire us, trust us and believe we are the best parents we could possibly be. So relax, trust your choices and remember… Your children love you, no matter what.