If you pick up a book on attachment parenting, you’ll undoubtedly find a wealth of information about nurturing your infant. Topics will include preparing for childbirth, diaper choices, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and disciplining toddlers. Once your child makes it into toddlerhood, you may search for a new book to help you continue to parent your child through his new stages with the same loving care. You may also have a hard time finding one.
American parents are discouraged from forming attachments to their children. It’s not the societal norm. Once parents struggle past the rapprochement of their peers for loving and nurturing their baby to the best of their ability, they often find themselves giving up that lifestyle and following society once the child is older. Attachment parenting is becoming widely known for babies, but parental detachment is still so predominant that attachment to older children is considered poor parenting.
A child is never too old to be loved and nurtured. There is never a time in a child’s life that a paid professional is more qualified to raise them than their own parents, barring instances of abuse and neglect. After practicing attachment parenting for the first 3-5 years of a child’s life, you do not have to let someone else teach them about the world you’ve been living in your whole life. You do not have to make them sleep alone against their will. You have every right to continue raising your own children, and allow them to reach developmental milestones when they are developmentally ready.
Every family has a different dynamic and culture. The amount of parental involvement and method of upbringing each child needs can vary drastically. Below, you’ll find descriptions of a few of the decisions that face parents that parent based on family needs instead of cultural norms. Attachment Parenting often involves some or all of these ideals to some extent.
The Family Bed
Not everyone insists that their children sleep in their own bed all the time, or even at all. Some parents welcome their children to share their bed, and enjoy the closeness and bond it fosters.
This is more than just using time outs instead of spanking. It involves changing the focus away from the punishment and onto the child’s understanding of their actions and the consequence. Instead of training a child to behave, these parents teach them to make righteous choices.
Homeschooling has made a big enough name for itself that the choice often seems to be Private School, Public School, or Homeschool. Often, families find that none of those models truly fit their needs. Luckily, the choices are not as cut and dry as they appear. There are ways to combine any and all of those models to meet your children’s needs.
Nursing the Older Child
It’s not as uncommon as most American’s think. In fact, it’s common practice in many cultures. To the surprise of most Americans, nursing a child not a sexual act. For children and mothers, it is fosters close bonds. It also continues to pass on health benefits to the child regardless of their age. Even within the United States, many parents choose to nurse until their children are no longer interested. Many times that can be as old as about five years old.
It’s becoming less common for parents to just agree to let a doctor or nurse inject anything they want into their children without even knowing what’s in the syringe. More and more, parents are researching vaccinations and deciding for themselves if their children will truly benefit from them, and if that benefit is worth the risk.
Another common discovery is that medications are not always the best treatments for childhood ailments. Parents with this knowledge are likely to take the responsibility for their children’s health out of their doctor’s hands. They assess what’s wrong and what’s needed on their own, often turning to essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and other alternatives to modern medicine.
All of these ideals have a broad spectrum of intensities at which the can be applied. It does not make someone any less devoted to their children to pick and choose what is right for them. These are all things attached parents think about and decide what place, if any, they should have in their children’s and family’s lives.
A natural part of putting your children’s welfare above the ideals of your local culture is to question that culture’s standards. Parents should be encouraged to apply their own sense of logic and morality to the options presented them. They should be applauded for creating new options when the ones available don’t meet their needs. Their purpose should be raising each child to the best of their ability, not raising them the way everyone else raises theirs.