Attachment Parenting isolates mothers and/or is anti-feminist:
I would have to agree with the observation that mothering is often an isolating experience in
It is not Attachment Parenting that isolates parents, but the social and cultural constructs that serve to keep children out of sight and many acts of mothering out of public view. Attachment Parenting is a very natural way to parent a child, and in a society so removed from nature I get how it could be seen down right contrary to what we commonly view as the advancements of our civilization. Gone is the village it takes to raise a child and in its place stands a collective obsession with independence. It is not the Attachment Parenting community that stresses perfection under these isolating circumstances, but rather a society that would judge, condemn, and measure a woman’s worth by her children, while in the same breath devaluing her parenting as lesser work.
More importantly, I call foul on absolutely anyone who would suggest that Attachment Parenting is somehow anti-feminist or oppressive to women. Attachment Parenting does require a lot of time and care, but that could be said about parenting in general. We are raising children, not scheduling a minor inconvenience into the fold of our lives. It is life changing, it is challenging, but it does not mean that we give up everything we have and everything we are to do it. The principals of Attachment Parenting do not even require the presence of women. Why assume that the person anticipating and fulfilling the attachment needs of a child MUST be that child's mother? Any caregiver, be they mother, father, grandparent or legal guardian can foster a secure attachment to the child for whom they care. There is also nothing that says a child cannot form secure attachments to more than one caregiver (in fact I believe it is crucial that they do). Anyone assuming that the basic principals of Attachment Parenting apply only to the mother is themselves incredibly sexist.
Attachment Parenting creates spoiled and undisciplined children
I believe that this myth has its roots in two assumptions. First, that anticipating and fulfilling a child’s needs is the same as giving them whatever they want whenever they want it, and second that people, and therefore children, must suffer in order to learn. I do not believe either of these assumptions to be true.
While the first assumption may be true in the first year or so when a child’s wants and needs are the same thing, Attachment Parenting an older child is most definitely not the same as giving them their every whim. The basic principal of Attachment Parenting is to create a secure attachment with my child, and in an effort to do that I have excluded punitive discipline from my bag of parenting tricks. That does not mean that I cannot teach my child responsibility and self discipline in an age appropriate, supportive, and gentle manner.
I also believe that Attachment Parenting allows me to be more engaged and connected with my son and therefore better able to tell the difference between his wants and his needs, and to recognize the needs hiding behind arbitrary toddler wants. I believe that to ignore some requests over others or use punitive discipline would muddy those waters and make me a less effective parent.
I think Elizabeth Pantley said it best in her book “The No-Cry Discipline Solution”
“As defined by Webster's, discipline means 'training that develops self control and character.' This definition might lead you to believe that the process is all about teaching, and in a sense it is. Teaching is your part of the discipline equation. and there is no substitute for quality lessons. However, your child's part of the equation is the most important - learning. ... Teaching that fall son deaf ears is lost, and we have learned that crying plugs a child's ears almost every time it occurs. Crying gets in the way of accepting, understanding, and learning.”
You have to breastfeed to practice Attachment Parenting:
It’s appalling to me that such an obviously untrue statement could come up multiple times in the same week, but I’ve heard this myth a lot lately.
While it is true that the closeness and supply/demand nature of a breastfeeding relationship fit nicely with the Attachment Parenting style, it is absolutely NOT a requirement.
No matter how you feed your baby, feeding time, and every other time, are still wonderful opportunities to bond with your baby and foster attachment. You can still cue feed your baby when they show early signs of hunger; you can practice baby-led bottle feeding or bottle-nursing. To safely feed an infant with a bottle the infant is still in your arms and you can have your baby skin to skin during feedings if you choose to. You can still wear your baby. You can still co-sleep (Though there are safety concerns that I would suggest be fully researched when contemplating bed sharing with a non breastfed baby). You can still commit to parenting in a way that is mindful, compassionate, gentle, trusting and natural.
If anyone tells you differently, send them to me. No really.
Attachment Parenting suppresses growth, development, and independence.
I think this is one that pretty much every Attachment Parent has heard before. “How will your baby ever A, B, C if you X, Y, Z?” It seams that there is a widespread and persistent rumor going around that children need to be independent as early as possible in order to grow and thrive. From sleeping through the night, to eating, walking, and talking, if they’re not doing it without your help before a mythical date on the calendar they will miss the boat entirely.
The truth is that children need a secure attachment to their caregivers in order to grow and develop in an emotional and physical environment that is safe and supportive, and where they know that their needs will be met reliably by someone they love.
There are many studies that suggest well attached children excel in all areas, social, academic, and physical, and every Attachment Parented child I have ever met (ranging in age between 0 and 16) has been a delightful, well adjusted, happy, and perfectly INDEPENDENT person. (You can find countless studies and publications about child development and attachment on the Attachment Parenting International Website)
“It’s a good thing we suppressed his development’ my husband said on the subject, “if we hadn’t he’d be ruling the world right now, and then we’d really be in trouble!”
Attachment Parenting is the same as helicopter parenting.
I have to tell you, I don’t really even know where to begin on this one. It’s a really common myth, and I can kind of see where some may get the idea from. I can actually kind of see where some attachment parenting practices could slip into helicopter territory, but only if I squint really hard and turn my head ever so slightly to the left.
Helicopter parenting, as I understand the term, is a kind of hovering paranoia over scraped knees and food that might have maybe come into contact with unpronounceable chemical byproducts that have been shown to cause an increased risk of leprosy in lab rats and therefore cannot be consumed by my child at his best friend’s birthday party.
Maybe I am being a little bit harsh, I do understand and have my own concerns about the chemicals my child comes into contact with, and no one likes to see someone they love injured or hurt. But for me, this has nothing to do with Attachment Parenting, or any type of parenting at all. It is a symptom of the culture of fear we live in, and not of the way we choose to parent our children.
Attachment Parenting is about building a secure attachment and a relationship with your child that is built on the foundations of trust and respect. While I do my best to protect him, part of that trust and respect is earned by providing a safe place for my child to return to when he gets hurt, scared, or accidently ingests red dye #40 so that he can explore the world on his own with confidence. To create unnecessary anxiety for my child and deny him valuable experiences out of fear would not be respectful to him, and in my view, would not be consistent with Attachment Parenting practices.
What kind of myths about Attachment Parenting have you encountered? How do you choose to approach these misconceptions when they come up?