Attachment Parenting: 3 Criticisms

You can watch the video version of this post on my Facebook Page.

I wanted to start today’s blog with a disclaimer: I truly don’t care how you parent. An odd thing to say coming from a parenting coach, right? I may offer my informed opinions on this blog, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your children. As long as your parenting is working for you, for your child, and there’s no mental or physical abuse happening, then you can keep doing you. I’m not going to judge you or anyone else.

Now, I want to take some time to talk about attachment parenting and lay out a few criticisms that I have of it. The 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting are:

  • Prepare for pregnancy and birth
  • Respond with sensitivity
  • Use nurturing touch
  • Engage in nighttime parenting
  • Practice positive discipline
  • Strive for balance
  • Feed with love and respect
  • Provide constant loving care

Sounds great, right? I think so too. The issues that I have aren’t with those who are attachment parenting, but the interpretation of those principles.

3 Criticisms of Attachment Parents

Here are my three main criticisms of how self-described attachment parents interpret those concepts outlined above.

Any Stress is Automatically Toxic

First is the belief that if your child cries, they’re experiencing toxic stress, and that by letting your child cry it out you destroy any chance of a secure attachment and will damage your kid for life. The reality is that small amounts of distress is good for children: they become resilient and independent, and it will even help them build a better secure attachment.

Toxic Martyr and Shaming Culture

In mainstream attachment parenting, a culture of martyrdom and shaming persists, where you are shamed as a bad parent if you do anything to maintain your own mental health – people perceive it as you putting your needs over your children’s. The reality is that good maternal mental health means a happier, healthier child.

Tunnel Vision

The following issue is more of a professional beef, but it’s important to share. Sometimes I’ll get a potential new client or a new friend who asks me for advice on how to better parent their children during a hard moment. I’ll start breaking it down for them and give them some strategies I know from over a decade of my own experience in this kind of work.

They’ll respond that no, they can’t do that, because they’re attachment parents, and they need a different, gentler way. They’ll reject all of my experience as a parenting coach and put the blinders back on.

If It’s Not Working, Change It

Staying within a rigid parenting framework doesn’t take into consideration that as your child ages, your parenting techniques will too. Join us at the Parenting Posse. It’s a great community with over two thousand parents that want nothing more than to get to know you and help you navigate this crazy world of parenting.

Need some extra help figuring out how best to parent your kids? Give me a call at Uncommon Sense Parenting today!

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About Allana

Hi, I’m Allana. I teach parents of toddlers and preschoolers why their children are misbehaving and what to do about it without yelling, shaming, or using time-outs. When not teaching parents about behaviour you can generally find me chasing around my two boys, reading cheesy romance novels, or hanging out with my own parents.

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