I have always felt as if I was “different” in my style of parenting compared to other parents. I had a set of beliefs that I believed I should do as a mother that were (are) different than mainstream. When my daughter was 10 months old, I found out that I wasnt alone. There was a form of parenting that I conformed to.. and that is attachment parenting.
What is attachment parenting? Attachment parenting is listening to your child – being there for them physically, emotionally and mentally. Attachment parents believe in babywearing, breastfeeding, gentle discipline (no corporal punishment), are against baby training (such as crying it out techniques or other sleep training) and co-sleeping.
Babywearing: I love babywearing. There is nothing more precious than having your baby / toddler in a wrap or sling close to you. Keri started out in a sling and we moved to a backpack that I wore until she was about 1.5 years old. Of course now days, the wraps have gone down in price and they have so many babywearing options that were not available when Keri was born (I’m so jealous!!) – but to this day, we still carry Keri.. a lot. Its just our way of keeping her close to us – we love it, and obviously Keri loves being in our arms!
Breastfeeding: Simply put, I nursed Keri until she was 17 months old. She self-weaned at 17 months, and I was so sad. Granted, I was receiving heavy pressure from family (not my husband) to wean, and it is partly my fault that she self-weaned that early.. I feel if I was more persisent, she would have easily nursed until at least 2 years old. This is probably the most thing I miss about the baby years.. I loved nursing Keri!
Gentle discipline: We are 100% against corporal punishment.. will not lay a hand on our daughter – period. Instead, we practice positive parenting (see below). We have received wonderful results using this discipline style and our daughter responds very well to positive parenting – we wouldnt change anything!
Baby training: Another thing we are 100% against.. sleep / baby training. We are against strict food / sleep schedules as well as using the Ferber / Crying It Out method for sleep training – no baby training in this house.
Co-sleeping: I was not able to co-sleep with Keri as I am a terrible sleeper that gets really bad sporadic insomnia. However, my daughter is 5.5 years old.. and I still have a baby monitor to listen to her sleep. It is my connection with her – I have to be able to hear her at all times as it is comforting to me to hear her, and the monitor insures that I will always hear her to respond to her.
And that is Attachment Parenting in a nutshell. Lets move on to Positive Parenting that I alluded to earlier.. what is positive parenting?
Well, positive parenting is a gentle discipline technique involving no punishments. Negativity is not used in disciplining our daughter.. what I mean by negativity is the use of punishments (corporal punishment, taking away a favorite toy, time outs, etc.) Instead, we use re-direction, we listen, we talk, and we understand our actions. We are big believers in natural consequences. For instance, if Keri leaves out a picture she painted on the floor despite being asked to put it away and finds it torn up by the cat the next morning is a natural consequence. Children learn from their mistakes – do not punish them because they do something “wrong” – talk about it, and let them learn why something is wrong. Talking about it and understanding produces a deep, connected relationship that results in empathy, kindness, and a loving heart.
NOTE: Something I just want to openly clarify about this post. These are my beliefs as a parent. I am not saying they are the only parenting beliefs nor am I saying they are the correct parenting technique. These parenting beliefs work for our family; these are the tools we use to raise our daughter. I believe it is very important to keep an open mind and even more important for others to not judge parents (or kids) based on their parenting techniques without getting to know them. There is no right / wrong way to raise a child – you raise your kids how you see fit, and we will do the same. Bottom line: follow your heart with raising your child and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
So, how do I do this? I have been told by friends that I am the most patient mother that they know. That is probably true. I have so much patience.. and I think that is vital to be an attachment parent and to practice positive parenting. You must have patience! I made the following picture to kinda sum up I believe is in the word patience:
I think the words are pretty self explanatory that make up the word Patience – and I always, always, keep these words in my mind when spending time with my daughter, talking to her, answering her questions, or even disciplining her. Her relationship is so important to me, and I strongly believe that if I keep following down this path, then Keri will grow up to be an empathetic, kind, loving, strong and amazing young woman. I love my daughter so much.. wouldnt change a thing about her 🙂