There is a popular misconception in the mainstream about attachment parenting; a school of thought that attachment parenting is the same as no parenting.
“If you don’t spank your child, he’ll run all over you!”
“Don’t put your child in your bed! How will she ever learn to sleep on her own?”
“How will your children ever learn to know you’re in charge unless you ignore their cries?”
When I first started down the attachment parenting path almost eight years ago, my husband and I were the only ones in our respective immediate families who had ever heard of it and were doing it. We were met with all kinds of grief, especially from his side of the family.
“Babies don’t need breastmilk after their first birthday.”
“He nurses all night because he’s in your bed!”
My husband was told that our children would be spoiled, disobedient, and impossible. He was condescendingly told, “You’re just new parents. You’ll figure it out soon!”
The kids are older now, and remain the only attachment parented cousins on both sides of the family. To those who said to us that we’ll reap what we sow, I wholeheartedly agree; the proof is in the pudding!
There is a local restaurant that our family frequents. It’s not a huge place, and we recognize or know all the people who work there. One particular time after we had finished our meal, I took the kids outside to get them strapped in the car while my husband took care of the bill. When he joined us at the car afterwards, he had this to say:
“As I was paying the bill, the woman told me that it’s always such a joy when our family comes in. The kids are always very well behaved and they eat so well! They aren’t loud, they don’t scream or yell, and they never make a fuss! ‘We’re always so happy when you all walk in the door!’”
- The kids and I flew cross country last summer to visit family. It was the kids’ first plane trip, and I was nervous about how they’d do. To my utter delight, several fellow passengers on each leg of the flight there and back made a point to tell me how impressed they were with my kids. They were very quiet, stayed in their seats, listened to me, and the ubiquitous “well-behaved.”
- During a parent/teacher conference, my son’s teacher said she can always count on him to do the right thing.
- People who know my kids have made comments to me about their good behavior. One woman in particular, after spending time with my kids, said that they were the best behaved children their age that she has ever seen!
So to any doubters of attachment parenting, to those who have just started out and are unsure, and to those who don’t know which parenting path to take, let me say point blank:
You reap what you sow.