Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that allows children to be close and connected with their parents. Although this parenting style has been around for centuries (without being named), it was not until the 1990's when attachment parenting became more popular in west, starting primarily in the US as a counter style to the predominant parenting paradigm at the time. It is based on the idea that early attachment helps develop healthy attachments later on in life. Attachment children are known for being intelligent, sociable, confident, stable individuals who have high self-esteem and feel loved.
This article looks at what what attachment parenting is, how attachment parenting affects children's development years down the road, how you can practice attachment parenting simply at home setting your child up for a lifetime of success.
The History of Attachment Parenting
The roots of attachment parenting can be found in attachment theory which is a psychological model that posits that children need to form attachments with their caregivers in order to develop healthy psyches (Fonagy et al., 2002). Bowlby, who developed attachment theory, believed that early relationships with caregivers were crucial for children's development and future mental health. While attachment theory may provide some guiding principles, attachment parents are free to interpret the childrearing philosophy in any way they see fit.
There Are Benefits for Children with Secure Attachments
It is important when practicing attachment parenting or attachment freedom that children have secure attachments. A recent meta analysis found strong evidence suggesting that having healthy early relationships helped develop trust and reduce fearfulness in kids (Dozier et al., 2014). Although this study did not specifically investigate attachment parenting, it does suggest that parent-child relationships are important in child development.
Attachment Parenting Doesn't Have to Be Difficult
There is no doubt attachment parenting can be difficult; however attachment parents believe the benefits outweigh any difficulties associated with this type of parenting style (Pipher, 2013). Attachment theory suggests that children need healthy attachments for proper brain and emotional development (Ainsworth et al., 1978) which has led some attachment parents to claim they will only raise their kids using attachment principles even if it means making sacrifices along the way. Healthy early attachment helps develop trust and reduces fearfulness later on in life (Dozier et al., 2014), so many feel like giving sleep or other activities is worth these
The Benefits of Attachment Parenting
There are many benefits to attachment parenting. Some of these benefits include:
How Can You Practice Attachment Parenting? Simple Ways To Implement Attachment Principles At Home
There are many ways you can practice attachment parenting at home with your children without too much difficulty or hassle. Here are some simple steps you can take in order to implement attachment principles into your daily life as a parent:
There are many benefits to attachment parenting although it may take some extra effort on the parent's behalf. However, attachment parenting has been shown to help children develop trust and reduce fearfulness later on in life (Dozier et al., 2014), which makes all of this hard work worth it! By practicing attachment principles at home you give your child every opportunity possible for success down the road!
Dozier M., et al. (2014). The developmental significance of attachment beyond the dyad: Meta-analysis of attachment in early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 55(11):1190–1207.
Fonagy P., Steele M., Moran G., Steele H. (2002). The predictive power of attachment style on sexual risk taking in late adolescence: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 38(l):628-635