Friday, July 13, 2012

The Worst Article on Attachment Parenting

I am so fed up with reading negative articles about Attachment Parenting. It seems as though ever since the controversial article was published in TIME magazine, everyone has to voice their opinion on the matter, even if they have no experience with or knowledge of it. It’s not that I feel I need to defend my parenting style- I am 100% certain that I am doing the right thing for my family and myself- or that I feel criticized. What really bothers me is the misrepresentation and false information that is being spread around freely, possibly deterring parents from informing themselves about Attachment Parenting and making insecure parents question their choices.

A prime example of the damage an article can do is a piece I just read online in Psychology Today titled ‘The Worst Idea in the World’ by Hara Estroff Marano. You see, the problems with this article are so numerous that I have to really refrain from writing an entire book on the subject. The very first issue I have is that this article will probably be read by people who are under the impression that they are reading a professional piece written by someone with at least a smidge of expertise in the area of child rearing. However, Ms. Marano is neither a psychologist nor is she in any other way involved in the field of child development- she is a journalist and an editor. The article is an opinion piece which may be perceived as research based information.

Unfortunately, research is something Ms. Marano doesn’t seem to believe in, since none of the claims she makes in her article are even remotely factual. This lack of knowledge is masked beautifully by an eloquently written piece, again making it hard for readers to question the information they are being given.

Paragraph by paragraph, Ms. Marano makes claims that are clearly fictional. Her writing is biased and leaves the reader with a horribly negative aftertaste. When trying to define Attachment Parenting, the words she uses are almost despising “Unless you’re practicing attachment parenting—“wearing” your baby, sleeping with your baby in your bed, and, as reflected in a recent Time magazine cover story, breast-feeding until a child is 6 or even older…” I am an Attachment Parenter, a breastfeeder, and a La Leche League leader. I know NOBODY, not one single mother, who has breastfed her baby for six years. Not that there is anything wrong with mothers who choose to do so- it is just not representative of what Attachment Parenting is about. Again, I could dissect every word she uses to make her distaste for Attachment Parenting (AP) unmistakably known. Sadly, I don’t have the time to do so tonight, so I will address the most bogus claims made in the article.

Ms. Marano suggests that AP is some sort of competition among elite mothers when she says: “It's become an instrument with which highly educated women bludgeon each other in pursuit of the top prize in the parenting sweepstakes.” As a mother who deals with other mothers on a daily basis I can honestly say that AP is neither a parenting style reserved for the wealthier mothers nor is it something that only the intellectuals among mothers practice. Parenting is not a competition and there is never a prize to be won and I have yet to meet a mother who sees it differently. Some days, I wish there was a prize…

What the author doesn’t seem to grasp is that AP is not a modern concept, something that “some doctor” conjured up in his basement and bestowed upon mankind. AP is a movement back to the very basics of human development, encouraging mothers to disregard advice that goes against their instincts and trust in the ability to mother their children as nature intended. Many, many parents practice AP without even knowing that such a concept exists- solely by listening to their own instincts when it comes to their children.

Sadly, Ms. Marano is not aware that the very things she herself is promoting, e.g. the natural development of a bond and the ability of a child who feels securely attached to be able to separate from the parents, are the concepts behind AP. She herself says: “The goal of attachment is to provide a strong enough sense of security so that the child can go off and explore the world on his own.”, but is somehow under the impression that AP stands in the way of the attachment she speaks of.

I can only hope that future authors who feel the need to bash AP at least have the courtesy and professional ability to thoroughly research what AP means. After all, none of us want to read another Worst Article in the World.


  1. As a child psychologist and a mom, one of the things that is so misleading about attachment parenting is the name. It is only called attachment parenting because of the theory it was based upon. It is not called this because it is the only form of parenting which allows parents to develop a secure attachment relationship with their children. There are numerous ways to develop a secure attachment relationship with our kids. I explore more of this myth here for anyone who is interested:

    1. Thank you for your comment! While I agree that AP is not the only way to form a secure bond with your child, I am not sure why you believe that the name implies that it is the only road to an attached relationship.
      As you say in your post, Developmental Parenting is a parenting style that mainly focuses on the developmental stages a child passes through- hence the name. Attachment Parenting focuses on attachment. Its main goal is to create a secure bond between parent and child. I'm not sure what other name it could possibly have been given.

    2. One might fault Developmental Parenting as being named misleadingly if you argue along that line - implying all other forms of parenting didn't develop and/or foster development of the child.

  2. I just wish people would stay out of other people's business. Does your parenting style differ from another person's? Great! Just shut up about it; do your thing and let others do theirs. I don't mean you, Vivien, I mean people who write articles like that and then blather on and on about it.... It's nobody's business how I raise my children or how you raise yours, so SHUT UP, EVERYBODY ELSE!

  3. Thank you for stopping by! You're awesome, as always!

  4. Why would a parent not want to be attached or bond with their child/ren? No one is forcing this style on anyone. It doesn't matter how you parent, so long as the child/ren are not put in danger. Before writing about AP, know the facts. Perhaps a better topic would be about parents who let their kids get away with everything, and never teaching consequences. Or parents that homeschool, but can't write a sentence without 3 or more spelling and grammar errors. Those are much bigger issues, I believe. Geeze, people have gotten so far away from what is truly natural, it's frightening. ~Nicci

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