There are many different methods of parenting that we are confronted with in modern society. If you walk into any bookstore in America, you’re going to see a vast section directly related to parenting styles. It is easy to get caught up in all of the opinions of professionals, or maybe just close family members (e.g., your mother). It can be especially frustrating as a mother to decide which advice to follow and which to ignore.
As a mother of two boys, five years and five months old, I can tell you that you are not alone in your quest to find the right philosophy for parenting your own children. Parenting is difficult on many levels and with each child comes new challenges. However, it is good to at least have a clue about where to start out on the journey to raise a well-rounded and secure individual. Your influence as a parent will help determine how successful your children will be at finding happiness in their relationships throughout their lives. What parent does not want that for their children?
Perfect parents don’t exist and neither does a perfect parenting style. There is, however, no doubt about the importance of developing a secure attachment at the earliest possible age. So where do we start? I believe, and there is evidence to support, that the attachment parenting approach is the foundation of healthy physical and emotional development.
Five years ago I started out on my personal journey of motherhood when I gave birth to my son, Andrew. As a first time mother, I had so many questions. Where should my son sleep? Should I breast feed of bottle feed? Should I let him “cry it out” in his crib and put him on strict feeding schedules, or should I console him and respond to his needs on demand? Is he supposed to adjust to my life, or am I supposed to adjust to his? I found myself feeling perplexed when I would hear advice from other mothers that wasn’t in line with what I felt instinctually. Sometimes I would try it anyway, but it rarely worked for me. I simply couldn’t go against what I felt innately was right.
While browsing the bookstore, I came across a book entitled The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby, by William Sears, MD. I had never heard of the author or the philosophy, but the title grabbed my attention and I bought it. This book changed my outlook on parenting in a way that gave me the security to know that my instincts were right and to trust them. Attachment parenting supports new and experienced mothers alike who are unsure or apprehensive about the advice they’ve been given, by giving them the confidence to trust their instincts. I found it simple to follow because the basic fundamentals are in line with normal maternal instincts. It does take an element of sacrificial love and lots of dedication to parent in this way, but anyone can do it and everyone can benefit from it!