Recovering from Attachment Parenting

Sometimes a selfie is all you need - recovering from attachment parentingI have two things to say right off the bat before I start this post. First, it has taken me a long time to write this post because I’m so afraid of people’s reactions, so please be kind. Second, I have friends and know people for whom attachment parenting works beautifully and I love that it works beautifully for them! This is me sharing my experience with it, as promised in the parenting buffet.

So, let’s dive in shall we?

When Dominic was born, I sort of fell into attachment parenting. It was a pretty easy thing to do. As you are probably aware by now, I am the kind of person who researches and reads everything. So, when I was pregnant, all of my research lead me to attachment parenting as “the best” way to parent.

Attachment parenting promised me wonderful things. Your child will be securely attached, it said, and have the confidence to go out and explore the world. It painted all other methods as causing insecure attachment, where your child will be clingy and too afraid that you are leaving to have confidence. It paints attachment parenting as the way that children are meant to be raised. So of course, with all these good things, it is hard to go against.

Actually, I read the Dr. Sears discipline book (copyright in the 1990s, though there must be newer editions by now – which may or may not claim the same things) and he promises such wildly outlandish things such as if attachment parenting had been practiced earlier, the Holocaust never would have happened. And that attachment parenting can prevent ADD/ADHD. I don’t know if later editions promised such things, but this early one certainly did. I wish I had saved pictures but I already sent the book off on Paperbackswap (referral link) before writing this post. Actually, I may have taken pictures, but I have so many pictures, it’s impossible to find them without remembering approximately when I took them.

Anyways, I digress, I don’t want to get into too much of the problems with attachment parenting, which I think I will save for another post.

No, in this post, I want to focus on how attachment parenting made me feel. I also want to talk about why I describe myself sometimes as a “recovering attachment parent.”

For me, personally, attachment parenting brought me one thing.

And that thing it brought me? It was guilt. And fear.

It brought me fear that if I ever for a second did any of the things that attachment parenting said was bad, that I would ruin my kids. That they wouldn’t love me or be securely attached to me. And the guilt them came hand in hand with that. When I left Dominic, I felt enormous guilt when I left him. I felt as if my leaving him for a few hours could undo all of our attachment. This was part of the reason that I didn’t leave him with anyone other than Nick until he was 5 months old. It was the fear that leaving him would break our attachment and he would be an insecure and anxious child.

There is more that I’ll get into in later posts. But, short story: eventually, I realized that attachment parenting wasn’t right for us. Sure, I still took some things from it (I still babywear Allen! for an example) as part of my parenting buffet, but I no longer identify as an attachment parent.

So, why do I call myself a recovering attachment parent? It’s because the guilt and fear stuck with me for a long time. It’s only in the last year that I’ve been able to move beyond that in a real and meaningful way. I can see that my children are securely attached to me. I can let go of a lot of that guilt and fear. Though, to be certain, it still comes from other places occasionally.

I feel, however, that if I had not believed so strongly in attachment parenting at the outset that I would not face so much fear and guilt. Attachment parenting blogs and facebook groups had me convinced, convinced, that to do anything else would ruin my children. So when I realized that it wasn’t a good fit for me and my kids, it was hard to let go. I still had the feeling that somehow, I was ruining them, even though I could see that I was not. It has taken me a long time to undo all of the ways that it had gotten into my head.

Anyways, there are more posts coming on this subject because I have strong feelings. However, like I said, I didn’t write any of this to people who find that attachment parenting is working well for them. I mainly wrote this for myself, as a way to process. I also wrote this for other people who might feel the same way I do, to let them know they are not alone. Again, this is only my experience, as I know for some people attachment parenting is great.

Please recognize that I am making myself vulnerable by putting this out there. In light of this, please be kind if you choose to comment. This is me eating a big old slice of humble pie that I should have eaten years ago. I’m also sorry for everyone I judged when I thought that attachment parenting was the only right/good way to parent. That was wrong of me. I know that now.

Have you ever got caught up in something you regretted? How do you feel about attachment parenting? (Can of worms, that question right there, I know 😉 )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post a comment

CommentLuv badge