Ashley Scott is like many moms that she knows in the DC metropolitan area, she has two children, works in a sector that allows her plenty of work from home and part-time opportunities, enjoys trips to the national mall, and exercises often with her dog.
While sharing similar hobbies and interests with the other moms that she knows, she is admittedly different in how she parents her children.
“I practice attachment parenting, something that most of my friends are either against or don’t know much about.”
So, rather than using labels to categorize the set of “different” behaviors that she does that are unlike that of her friends, (i.e., co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, etc.), Leslie sticks to trying to find a common ground between herself and her peers.
“We all love our children and want what is best for them, so I think that is the foundation of our conversations on our children. I try not to include the fact that I practice attachment parenting in my “parenting” conversations because, so often, others have such negative reactions. They say that it (AP) is just a trend, that it’s too demanded, and that, oh, yeah, and this is my favorite, it won’t make my kids any better than others.”
Yes, as most any AP parent will admit, one of the most enduring criticisms of AP, for which they are left unable to really respond, is that attachment parenting does not produce any more long term benefits than other parenting practices. Yes, as will often be said by such persons offering the critique, “so-and-so” wasn’t parented through attachment parenting, and they “turned out just fine.”
Before responding to the claim that AP does not produce any long term benefits to name, it should first be acknowledged that there is no way to really know how a child will eventually turn out. Parenting, however, just like life, is not just about the end goal, right? I hope so. Rather, it is about the journey. Parents can not and should not take all the credit or blame for how their kids do or do not turn out. All they can do is their best and pray/hope/wish for the best. The rest, or what happens with “the best that parents have to give” is up to the child.
Even in saying this, it can be said that there seems to be some features which, according to Dr. William Sears and other AP parents, can be observed commonly in children who were parented through attachment parenting. Dr. Sears refers to the six benefits of AP as the six 6’s. They are included with some modifications below:
- Nurturing children: Children who are parented through AP have been nurtured since birth. They have, through their parents’ responsiveness to their needs, learned that their needs are important. Through this, these children are well able to be responsive to the needs of others. They care about the needs of others and are nurturers.
- Compassionate children: Through their parents’ efforts to ensure that they were raised with a strong sense of right and wrong, these children grow up as compassionate adults. They are emphatic to others’ needs because their parents have been, throughout their life, emphatic to their needs.
- Well connected: A key component of attachment parenting is encouraging children to form strong and lasting connections to human beings rather than things. As a result of this, AP children are well able and more desiring to make connections with others. They value social relationships and interactions.
- Cautious children: AP children are cautious because they recognize their own limitations and failings as human beings.
- Confident children: These children trust the world around them due to the foundation of trust that they received since birth from their parents.
- Confident and trusting parents: A huge piece of attachment parenting is that parents trust their own ability to parent and be parents. In having to rely most on their intuition and self-judgment, AP parents, over time, become more confident in their abilities and wisdom as parents, and as a result, human beings.
Having given this list of long-term benefits is not meant to imply that these traits are unique to AP children. Nor does it really mean that all AP children will exhibit any or all of these traits. These six characteristics serve to more generally sum up some common characteristics typically found in AP children.