And a few weeks ago, I started thinking about how much I wanted to write a post about the Attachment Parenting taboo.Then it faded to the bottom of my list.
Until today. When I found this article by Sarah Ockwell- Smith and renewed my conviction that the word has to be spread.
This is the article I really wanted to write:
She says it all so eloquently. I’d really like to just paste the whole thing here. Make sure you read it.
She quotes Charles Raison in the intro (a quote I am beginning to see pop up a lot around attachment and gentle parenting websites!):
“One generation of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”
I’d never heard the quote before, but I just about peed myself I got so excited.
I believe this so much.
The deaths of children at the hand of “child training” gone wrong is, of course, very attention-getting.
The problem is that it’s the way-too-far-there’s-nothing-that-can-be-done-now end of the attention. Parents have already abused their children to death. And it’s already perpetuating awful untruths about what God’s love is like by it’s loose association with Biblical discipline.
Maybe less attention-getting for their sheer number are the news stories of war, and violent bullying, and neighborhood shootings and suicides.
What if this painful lack of compassion actually can be helped?
I mean, think about it, really.
The research says, all over the place, that “Attachment theory”- or the idea that responsive, compassionate parenting from birth on into the teen years dramatically impacts the mindset, brain development, security, confidence, empathy, compassion (and so much more) of children.
I have to suspect that somewhere, we all believe that. There’s this sense that the wounding and anger in us deeply, longingly just needs to be loved and met. That it doesn’t automatically have to be inside our children. And that if it wasn’t, there might be a whole lot less of careless, violent tragedy with passive onlookers and a whole lot more peaceful, mature and compassionate activism.
But somehow, all that’s gotten lost inside this “trend”- This hippy-dippy “softie” parenting style of Attachment Parenting (or AP as it’s widely known).
So the world keeps on thinking it’s just “one way” to parent, that it’s no better or worse than any other.
Or maybe they think it’s WAY worse than others, that it creates clingy “overly attached” monsters and 27-year old boys who worship their mother (from her basement, playing video games and eating tofu), all because she kept them close when they were young and breastfed them past 6 months.
Or maybe it’s “too hard” or “a lot of work,” or “only for stay-at-home-moms”.
I know I’ve read and heard my share of the critics.
And you know what? Every. Single. One. had something in common:
They didn’t actually know what Attachment Parenting was.
They knew it was about wearing your baby, breastfeeding, and the other “B’s”. They knew it was a favorite of natural- granola types. They knew the stereotypes from the movies and the overly-vocal playground mamas (like me. :))
Most often, they really only knew the name. And to them, the name sounded like the opposite of what a good parenting goal should be: To raise a capable, independent adult.
But not a single one knew the real depth of brain impact, or could relate to seeing the difference in the eyes of a child, or that the data suggests it’s the best way to raise a capable, independent adult…or even really that the main goal is responsiveness and not so much just gluing your kid to your body.
And I really think knowing that might make a difference.
So I’m here, lending my voice to the revolution.
I’m with Sarah. I wish we could rename the thing.
Because I really do think it could change the world.
Do me a favor?
Read Sara’s article.
Read mine. Share them. Ask questions. Give feedback. Ask more questions.
And spread the word.