Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Creating independence in an AP'd child

I have not personally come across people who have criticism of attachment parenting. I think the family I have and the community I live in considers my parenting principles fairly mainstream. I have never gotten a single negative comment about breastfeeding my daughter in public, even at 17 months old, I get nothing but great comments on our slings, and have never been scolded by a well-meaning parent for co-sleeping or not letting my daughter cry-it-out. It's comforting, of course, but all the reading I do online, and all the message boards I read have painted a different picture of what it means to AP in most places in this country.

One thing I have read about a great deal is that parents are fearful that AP creates clingy children. I am very much of the mindset that independent children or clingy children are basically born that way, but of course the nuturing we provide them plays a role. My daughter has been AP'd from birth and has a very healthy sense of independence. She isn't so independent that she never needs me, but at parks, or in groups, or even at home, she is more than happy to explore on her own. In those situations I often have to stop her to get a snuggle in! She also loves sitting on laps to read books, and snuggling up in bed or for nursing. I feel that these are highly desirable attributes (at least for me!) and I am very certain that my parenting style has given me the tools I need to create the balance that I have with my daughter.

I would never mean to imply that children who aren't AP'd don't have a healthy sense of independence, or that all AP children do, but I take pride in the relationship we have and can personally see how the way that parenting her has fostered that.

I want to share my story because it's a success story about what worked for us, and hopefully it will influence someone else who wants to follow a similar parenting path. Creating the trust with her that I have has allowed her to explore her world and feel safe that mama will always be there when she needs me.