Defined by basic principles of responding to our babies’ and children’s needs, Attachment Parenting is parenting plain and simple. Many choose to call it ‘instinctual’ parenting because it is a form of parenting that has been practiced for millions of years, since the dawn of humankind.
“The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.” -Attachment Parenting International.
This “style” of parenting is dubbed “extreme” by the mainstream media and culture. The same group of people that commonly promotes formula as an equal to breastmilk, rice cereal to help young infants sleep longer, and cry-it-out to the point of vomiting and passing out. Repeatedly.
The same collection of people who calls insinctual parenting extreme also tells us to:
- Sleep separately from our infants so that they will become independent. When they are babies.
- feed cows milk at the age of 1 to replace of breastmilk or formula
- hit children to teach them right from wrong
- circumcise our baby boys to prevent some disease they may never catch or so that they will match someone else’s body
It seems to me that extreme is being applied to the wrong list of behaviors. Just because something is commonly accpeted as right, does not make it right. If any societal norm/tradition/ideal infringes upon the rights or well-being of another person, it is not right at all.
I like to teach others through empathy and compassion. I do my best to see views from all angles possible. I do not place harsh judgement on those who parent differently than I do. I most certainly do not look down upon those who have been deceived and therefore believe that what they are doing is “right” or if they were unaware that there are other ways.
I do not fault others for being human; a person that makes mistakes; a person that can be pressured to do things they would normally never do. But I cannot and will not support practices that hurt those who cannot defend themselves. Not only can they not defend themselves, but they cannot advocate for themselves. Therefore, they have no voice.
Our culture encourages harsh treatment to the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. These accepted practices are anything but normal to our species. Many of these actions would be considered assault toward an adult, or abuse and neglect to an elderly person. These practices are not only allowed on the most vulnerable, but they are encouraged and deemed a normal, acceptable, and needed form of parenting.
I do not accept it. If believing that my child deserves parenting which allows her to thrive- without fear and insecurities- makes me an extreme parent. Then I am as extreme as they come.
“It is fortunate that each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance. We are thus enabled to call our ancestors barbarians.” Charles Dudley Warner