Attachment Parenting 101: How to Know if This Parenting Style Is Right for You

Whether you've heard a little or a lot about attachment parenting, odds are at least some of its tenets will be helpful to you. Here's what we can all learn from attachment parenting (18 Photos)

Patty Onderko on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:13AM

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17 Things to Know About Attachment Parenting

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a Patty Onderko on Jun 29, 2012 at 4:42PM

Maybe you saw the controversial Time magazine cover of a mom nursing her preschooler or your friend swears by it and you want to understand where she's coming from. Whatever your reason, it's worth learning about attachment parenting, a style centered around ways to bond with your baby -- especially since most parents incorporate at least a few AP strategies without even realizing it. Here's what you need to know to find out if you want to try more.

It's Based on Attachment Theory
A philosophical hypothesis developed in 1951 by psychiatrist John Bowlby is the inspiration for the field of Attachment Parenting. Bowlby's theory held that humans innately seek closeness with a primary caregiver. Infants and kids use this reliable connection as a secure base from which to explore the world around them, developing confidence along the way. Without a strong, affectionate attachment to a parent (or other consistent caregiver, although Bowlby focused his research on the mother-child bond), emotional and behavioral development may be thwarted, according to the theory. And, in fact, research has shown that those who lacked maternal affection during their infancy are more likely to be depressed and exhibit aggressive behavior later in life. Attachment Parenting aims to offer parents the tools they need to forge that strong, loving parent-child relationship.

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