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An Attachment Therapist on Attachment Parenting

At the Baby Loves Disco party Sunday afternoon.

At the Baby Loves Disco party Sunday afternoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been a bit more attuned to the media’s interpretation of parents recently but I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of people talking about attachment parenting being the newest thing.  I’ve known about attachment parenting for years now.  Just like with any other parenting style, the media reports tend to focus on extremes where in order to say you are an attachment parent you must rigidly follow the tenants of wearing your baby everywhere, co-sleeping, and breast-feeding past the societal norms for the United States.  Attachment parenting becomes just like “tiger moms,” “helicopter parents,” and “back-stage parents,” so that you either you are or you are or are not with no in-between.

I would like to suggest that we all take a breath for a moment.  Put your hand on your heart.  While you are at it, breathe a few times slowly, in and out.  Ask yourself this question.  “Is this true?”  Is it true that so many people subscribe to rigid parenting styles?  Or are we all just trying to get along the best way we know how with the information we have?

I would like us all to dial it down a notch.  Here are the things I care about as an attachment therapist– meaning that I am a therapist that looks at the attachment styles between parents and children and helps to guide children with insecure attachment styles toward a more secure attachment:

Do you have a genuine, loving relationship with your child?

If not, are you working to make your relationship genuine and loving?

Do you care more about your relationship with your child than you care about being right or dominating your child?

Are you playful and loving with your child when you can be?

Do you set appropriate limits?

Does your child look to you for comfort and protection and do they have faith that you will care for them?

Are you empathic toward and accepting of your child’s feelings, even if they are different from yours?

Do you have insight into the parts of parenting that are hard for you and do you work to change the parenting moments or actions you are not proud of?

These are the foundations of parents that form secure attachments with their children.  Dan Hughes, author of several books, including one of my favorites, “Building the Bonds of Attachment,” (you can purchase this book by following the link “Amazon widgets” at the top right of this page*)calls this way of parenting PLACE parenting.  PLACE stands for Playful, Loving, Accepting, Curious, Empathic.  I find using this way of parenting builds a strong bond between parent and child and is especially useful for the children I see with attachment disturbance.

I do my best to use it with my children as well, but, guess what?  I’m human.  Sometimes, like when I take my oldest clothes shopping and she refuses to try on a single item of clothing even though she complains several times a week that she has nothing to wear, I lose it.  If you were in Target with us last Tuesday, I apologize.  Seriously.  But, just like when our children make mistakes, so do we need to gather ourselves together and learn from those things we do that we wish we could take back and move on.  It is my strong belief that the best parenting style for any parent is the one that works best for them!  The style that most truly matches your internal desire and ability to parent, and which models a life you would like your child most to emulate.  I imagine that would be a life in which: they are free to love themselves without being narcissistic, they care for others so that they might experience loving relationships, and they explore their own interests and build on their own talents and abilities, among other things.

What do you think creates a strong foundation in a parent/child relationship?

*see disclaimer page

May 23, 2012 - Posted by | attachment, help for parents, parent support/ self improvement | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Love the questions you posed – the third one is particularly tough for me – I love being right!

    Comment by shannon2818 | May 23, 2012 | Reply

    • We all struggle with that one sometimes! I have to whisper it to myself under my breath when it gets hard, “I care more about you than about this. I care more about you than I care about this….”
      Thanks for sharing my post on Twitter also 🙂

      Comment by help4yourfamily | May 23, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] An Attachment Therapist on Attachment Parenting (help4yourfamily.com) […]

    Pingback by The Spectrum of Attachment | help4yourfamily | June 8, 2012 | Reply

  3. Yes I would. And I do on a regular basis. My brinoyefd has no children of his own, but his mother did a wonderful job raising him. I consider the source and sometimes ask how he came up with the ideas that he has. Sometimes I agree and follow his advice. Other times I think in the back of my mind Maybe some day when you have children, you will understand why that idea is totally unreasonable. Then I go on with my life. Every opinion is important and I am glad that people admit what kind of source they are. I feel that I have given good advice about twins, sons, and autistic children a few times. Not because I have any of these, but because I have spent enough time around them to figure out what works for me and to pick up on what works and doesn’t work for their parents.

    Comment by Ricardo | June 22, 2012 | Reply


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