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Why attachment parenting cannot work

By Michael Blain

This method of parenting is based on the attachment theory in developmental psychology and was coined by a pediatrician named William Sears. This article will primarily focus on its misapplications, but I will first explain the basic tenets that were supposed to be applied to this theory before it all was lost in the ether. There are eight principles of attachment parenting, according to Wikipedia, which are: 1. preparation for pregnancy, birth, and parenting, 2. feeding with love and respect, 3. responding with sensitivity, 4. using a nurturing touch, 5. ensuring safe sleep, both emotionally and physically, 6. providing consistent loving care, 7. practicing positive discipline, and 8. striving for balance in both personal and familial affairs. These ideas all sound good and are even somewhat based on an intellectual perspective. The problem lies in the fact that these principles have nothing to do with how attachment parenting has been championed and portrayed in the media.

The first issue, and I would call it an extremely disturbing one, is how long a current proponent of attachment parenting believes that breast feeding is appropriate in the development of their child’s life. For example, Mayim Bialik, long time star of the television show Blossom and current cast member of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, has claimed publicly that she is still breast feeding her child that is nearly three years old. Three years old! Are you kidding me? When does potty training start, immediately following college graduation? This manner of co-dependence has no place in a propaganda cartoon let alone in a civilized society. Although my thoughts do not align directly with those of Sigmund Freud, he was certainly not wrong about everything, and the complexities being psychologically created through this sort of ‘nurturing’ will most definitely run on an infinite loop in the child’s consciousness throughout their entire lifetime.

This confusion also seems to be arising with the association and application of attachment therapy within the guise of attachment parenting. William Sears had nothing whatsoever to do with the formulation of attachment therapy, which involves excessive physicality to prevent mental disconnection into psychological issues, yet publicly, the bastardized combination of the two is being touted solely as attachment parenting and sadly, the original ideas of Dr. Sears may soon be lost to history. Defenders of this rudimentary psychological child-raising joke claim that it will guarantee that their child will never become a bully and will be very empathetic and kind to those around them each and every day they walk this planet. What they do not understand is that they are not only setting their kin up to be the prime target of bullies but they will also have a borderline impossible time forming healthy intimate relationships with the opposite sex. It is one thing to be someone with mother issues or to aggressively seek out an exact replica of your life creator for a mate, but it is a completely different matter altogether to breast feed until the age of three and in some cases beyond!

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