Time magazine cover suggests attachment parenting has gone too far
E-mail | Print | Comments ()05/10/2012 1:16 PM
By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff
Time magazine?s latest cover photo has created quite a buzz: A super-trim, blonde 26-year-old mother standing in skinny jeans and a tank top, hand on hip, chest thrust out with an exposed breast -- affixed to which is the mouth of her 3-year-old son, who?s standing on a stool to reach it. The magazine is marking the 20-year anniversary of ?attachment parenting?, a phrase coined by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife Martha in The Baby Book, a best-seller that came out in 1992.
Attachment parenting advocates for keeping your baby as close to your body as possible -- at pretty much all times. Parents are supposed to wear their babies in slings, instead of pushing them in strollers. Mothers breastfeed their toddlers, some through nursery school. And parents co-sleep with their kids in the same room, with babies in attached bassinets and older kids in the bed.
?The essence of attachment parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children,? reads the website of Attachment Parenting International. ?It is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.?
I?m curious, though, whether that?s been validated in research studies. A quick Medline search of the term ?attachment parenting? yielded many studies showing that kids who don?t form strong attachments to their parents are worse off than those who do, but none that I saw that actually tested the precepts of attachment parenting like co-sleeping and prolonged breastfeeding.
Sears claims on his website that the latest research reveals that infants? brains are ?hardwired with strong needs to be nurtured and to remain physically close to the primary caregiver, usually the mother, during the first few years of life.?
That?s most likely true, but does that mean mothers need to give up their professional lives for several years to keep baby close to them at all times? Also, what happens to a couple?s sex life when baby makes three in bed? And where?s the fine line between being an attached parent and becoming one of those nuisance helicopter parents that kids try to escape by heading across country to college?
I?d like to know what you think of Time?s cover and attachment parenting in general.
Do you think attachment parenting makes sense?
The bolded is the debate question.
I'm not sure how to answer. I think some AP is great but I think like anything...done to the extreme not always a great idea. So to what they presented I think is a bit extreme. In general and how most people I know practice AP (me, for one) it's not and is a good idea.
Mom to E and C
I think that most people who need to label themselves as anything tend to be insecure, I've noticed this most with AP parents. .I have enough confidence in my parenting to not need to follow the letter of the law of some man who happened to have a brood of children. I see moms do, like, AP face offs where they literally make lists (and even BLINKIES!) of how awesomely AP they are and I just cringe for them ~ its so pathetic. Since so many people who practice it seem to be insecure or somehow needy (i.e needing some strict method to teach them how to raise their own child) I see a lot of codependent and/or undisciplined kids as a result.
I also find Dr Sears to be a bit anti woman, so clearly I'm no fan I do all that crap (breast feed, babywear, cosleep .....because it made sense for us, not because I wanted to be an "AP PARENT".) I try to stay away from those sorts.
I didn't vote because I am somewhere inbetween. When DS was a baby I wore a sling most of the time, spent lots of skin to skin time, etc. He slept between us in a bed pod thing several times too.
I would have breastfed longer, but I dried up at 10 months (I was desperately pumping every 30 minutes at work to make it last longer), but I think once he hit about 1 1/2 I would have transitioned. Gosh he pulls my shirt down in public enough as it is
I believe in holding your child close to you. I think it just sounds and feels right.
lol! As soon as I saw this article, I knew it would be on here... I thought we would be debating the photo though
I'm not into the labels either. Do what makes sense for you and your family.
I do several of the APish things, but not all of them. Take co-sleeping... I'm not opposed to it, but didn't do it. My kids have all slept in their crib in their own room from early on because am an extremely light sleeper who often suffers from insomnia. With the baby in the room, I hear them breath, snort, snuffle, move, etc and it keeps me awake. Too much noise for me to fall, and stay, asleep.
However, I know people who prescribed to parenting theory x and have to follow it word for word... Even when it obviously isn't working. I have a friend who coslept - and didn't sleep through the night herself for like 6 years and counting... Yes, they is how long they (mom, dad, and up to 3 kids) slept together. She is a worn out, exhausted wreck, but heaven forbid you say, "you know what? This isn't working for us!"
I'm about as A/P as you can get, because it closely mirrors the Taoist philosophy that I follow. I label myself as A/P not because it's a cool label or the hip new "in" thing to try, but because it's just who I am as a parent. I pumped at work to be able to breastfeed my babies. I turned down overnight travel until they were two years old because we co-slept and they needed me to sleep well. When I was at work, my DH wore our babies in a sling as much as they wanted to be close to him. We use positive discipline techniques because we don't believe in violence. And I do still breastfeed my 2.5yo, not because "it's A/P" (extended breastfeeding isn't one of the 8 tenets of A/P) but because it feels right for us. Part of what makes it feel right for us is that I've set limits on it as my children grew & could understand, i.e. not in public, only in bed, then only at bedtime, and definitely not on magazine covers!
I also don't view A/P or Dr. Sears as being misogynist; A/P is pro-family, not anti-women. A/P is not about moms having to stay home tied to their kids; it's about making sure that WOH is the best choice for your family, and making sure that your child is in a safe, loving, nurturing place when you're at work, and it's about maintaining a good work/life balance. And everything about A/P applies to the dads, too!
David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!
I don't find the need to follow a label or movement with my parenting. I try to follow my gut and heart and go with what works and leads to a happy healthy child and family. Some of what we did was AP-like - breastfeeding and co-sleeping - and we did that because it worked for us. But a lot of it wouldn't have worked. DD had no desire to be carried around in a sling all day. She wanted to roll about and have space to play. She also didn't really want to spend all her time sleeping alone - still doesn't - so some nights she slept with us. I don't feel the need to follow something to the letter. I don't know many people who do. Most of the parents I know go with what works for them.
My very first experience with AP was when I was a brand new mom with a 5 week old that had a pacifier (gasp I know) 2 moms stood and told me how obviously I wasnt in tune with what baby needed, I wasnt meeting all her needs, I was never going to have a close relationship because I was allowing her to be soothed by something artificial. In short, I was a horrible mom. At the time I had never even heard what AP was. I did some investigating and learned that aside from the pacifier (that she got when she was in the NICU because I was actually opposed to them) I was pretty close to AP to the letter. Of course after that I would have never identified myself as a AP mom. 3 kids later and I now am very confident in my parenting, and all 4 kids are very different, requiring different parenting with each one.
AP parenting to the letter wouldnt make sense for our family, or for me.
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
I'm not for AP or particularly against it either. However, if you're co-sleeping with your kids just because you want them close I don't 'get that', especially if they would happily sleep in their own beds/rooms.
I never did anything associated with AP when DD was smaller but we are still as close as you can get, so that proves to me that no matter what you do with your child (in a loving sense) the bond will always be there.
Me - Kristi, 29
DD - Leia, July 5 2008
I luurrrrrve to lurk!
All these labels get me dizzy. I parent and love my kid, and if certain actions of mine fall under certain labels then so be it. But if labels dictate certain actions of mine, then I would find that to be a problem. Jace and I still share a bed and not because I'm AP, it's because we've been doing it since forever ago. Would I like him to be in his own bed? Yes. But I know it's comforting for him now and I don't want to disrupt that.